in Grief and Life
I love this image.
One folder looks like tax receipts; another could be love letters. Bookends of life.
When things go wrong in grief it forms a layer on top of the grief itself. We are carrying one thing and then, suddenly, there is another layer on top (and often another layer on top of many more).
A folder of papers can hold an entire life.
I speak of this after witnessing my husband’s gravestone today.
Those of the living may not realize how something seemingly simple can be brutally complex.
Those of the dead–those in grief–know this only too well.
I speak of the process of funeral arrangements during the time of COVID and in its aftermath. Not just the phrase selected under the vital statistics (in our case, a phrase crafted from the minds, hearts, and imaginations of eight adult survivors of this wonderful man), but the paperwork required, discussed, signed, transferred, signed again, and its journey guided by a minimum of four different shepherds.
The paperwork is an entire story in itself.
The stories from our lives witness to the tapestry of our existence. Each story connects to innumerable quilting pieces, when stitched together, represent each of us.
Let’s wrap ourselves in our memories like a blanket.
I’d like to make a quilt with the good and the bad, leaving nothing out since our love is human and inherently imperfect. With tender mercy, I will create embroidered hearts to cover our mistakes and will add an extra-soft layer of fabric (as big as the quilt!) to cover the things I never said or did but wish to now; the things that we didn’t do, but had wished we had; to cover my longing.
A healing quilt.
Yesterday, I witnessed the fruit of our labor and pondered how this good man deserved such a beautiful resolution. The not-settling, the creative incubation on how to proceed, the picking it up and starting over, and the support we gave each other along the way. This honor he earned 1000 times over during his lifetime.
And a few heroes showed up for us during this ordeal and for those I am ever grateful.
Standing at his grave, I knew he was there somehow…perhaps overhead watching my process. Perhaps holding me.
I believe he is not locked there, or anywhere, but that he journeys with us unseen. Well…mostly unseen. He sometimes plays with the lights and his mischievousness comes alive to me in those moments.
Did I feel relief?
Oh yes! The holding pattern over 979 days feels complete and there is much relief to see the beautiful product. Having a frustrating task requiring steady attention that you do.not.have on top of the hard work of grief can make it feel as though it will never end.
Our Loyal Cowboy, Tender & Strong, Forever Ours.
No truer words exist for us.
Thank you, love.
Stay near us in all the ways. xo