Grief: Too Many Words

Mom's Dayton portraitWhen my mother died, I could not sculpt words around my grief. Even several months later, I still could not express how grief felt to me.

Now, a year later, I find I have too many words to shape and press around the edges of my grief. I can’t choose the right words that will show you the boundaries of my emotions as a picture. I try to paint with words, but I cannot choose the right ones for this task. There are too many, and the space of grief is too large.

So instead, I offer this excerpt from one of my favorite books, To Bless The Space Between Us by John O’Donohue. His poem, For Grief, expresses my feelings better than I can myself:

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange.
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

. . .

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

This entry was posted in Occupying and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Grief: Too Many Words

  1. Amy says:

    Beautiful post Jennie. You all are in my thoughts. Much love to you all.

  2. Rivka says:

    Very sad. Too much grief in our lives.

  3. Betsy says:

    Is the “work of grief” ever done? I wonder…..
    Your mom was so cute Jennie and what a sweet face. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    • Jennie Spotila says:

      It’s never done, Betsy. I think it does change over the years though. Mom was cute inside and out!

  4. Lara says:

    I’m crying over here, reading this and fully understanding your pain. I am immensely sorry for your loss.

  5. Amy D. says:

    Ah Jennie, thanks for sharing this beautiful piece. I’m thinking of you with love.

  6. Pat S. says:

    Jennie, thank you for sharing this. When you lose someone you love, they still occupy their place in your heart reserved just for them. There are days when you dance with them and days when you cry because you miss them so much, and there never seems to be any rhyme or reason as to when either one of those days happen. Both my parents and two sisters have now passed and, decades later, I still find myself picking up the phone to call them and share something special with them. Love has a way of doing that, reminding us how special people were/are to us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. Cecelia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Jennie, as well as this book of poems. It is one of my favorites too, and I would recommend it very highly to everyone for its wisdom and beauty. When my mother died at 97, although I felt her joy and freedom right away as well as a new quality of love for me, I still grieved. It was about a year in which I would each day suddenly want to call her to share something with her. I could not seem to remember that she had died, and did this two or three times a day. I withdrew more from social life than even before. And as someone with this illness conserving her energy, this meant near total isolation from my friends. Then the tide turned and new integration must have been in place. Our relationship acquired new quality and purpose. It goes forward. This process is trustworthy and valuable, as the poem expresses.

  8. Kathy D. says:

    That is very fitting for dealing with grief. I am sorry that your grief has continued, but I think that’s just part of the human condition. We love deeply and grieve deeply.

    Grief can last a long time, even a lifetime; it changes. Reminders can bring it up again and so can anniversaries.

    I still grieve for my father and miss him although he died in 1982. I know I was lucky to have him in my life for 36 years. And I grieved for my mother who died in 2012 at 95. And other losses are never forgotten; they arise at even surprising times.

    There are times we just have to recognize it and give in to it and grieve. There are other times when we can put one foot in front of the other and keep going, but thinking of our loved ones.

    I remember years ago after a deep loss, I was surprised that the sun came up and people went about their daily lives in the street, going to grocery stores, to work, etc.

    It’s a tough situation. I think you were lucky to have had such a beautiful mother and relationship with her. Cherish that.

  9. Christian Godbout says:

    “When the silence of absence deepens”. Wow… Just the sound of these words goes beyond words. Like grief itself.

  10. Pingback: Diary Day 98: Some Good MECFS Blogs You May Have Missed | Disabled In Tory Britain

Comments are closed.