grief is a shower of grace

This Unlit Light - well of grief - image by Smith Eliot


On October 23, 2009, I wrote a post called the gift of grief:

Seven months since she spun out of her solar orbit and left my life.  Well, appeared to leave my life.

What a cruel lie it is to believe that those we love have gone; what an ignorant denial of Life’s infinity of guises and disguises; what a limiting perspective on the vastness of Life’s Play.

She is missed, yes.  But I find that if I simply allow ‘missingness’ to be its unadorned energetic self and ignore the siren-call of memory’s stories, she is there, in that movement of energy.  Missingness holds the blessing of mutual gratitude – a two-way appreciation of love known and cherished.

Who would want to miss such a blessing?  Who would want to “move on from it”?  Who would want to heal it, transform it, transmute or transcend it?

Who would want to deny the gift of grief’s solidarity, the diamond sharp sorrow shared with the mother whose child disappeared a decade ago at the school bus stop, the father whose son has just been shot dead practicing maneuvers for a dubious war in a distant land, the lover whose beloved has passed away before she was ready?

Grief is a great gift.  I love the way it keeps my heart soft.  I love the way I see it in your eyes, in the eyes of all ‘I’s walking this Earth.  It is a hallmark of the unclouded Light of human-being-ness.

Please don’t tell me to get over it.

April 3, 2016 – an update.

Only one word to change: “months”, to years.

Seven years since she spun out of her solar orbit and left my life.  Well, appeared to leave my life…

I still slip  – delightedly – beneath the still surface to “the secret water, cold and clear”.  I still marvel that these eyes spill tears of gratitude.  Love blesses me with grief.  I make no movement away, rather, I turn to meet it, gladly.

Grief is – for me – a shower of Grace.

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.

~ David Whyte

Where Many Rivers Meet
©2007 Many Rivers Press

The original post was inspired by an email exchange with Vicki Woodyard shortly after my mother’s death and the beginning of this blog.  Thank you dear Vicki.

Image by Smith Eliot

12 thoughts on “grief is a shower of grace

  1. My mother passed away this month 14 years ago… I don’t feel the grief as much these days… yet she is never far from my awareness… and referred to often as a reminder of great joy. A deep gratitude for this and for your sharing. Much love Mx

    • Ahhh… thank you for sharing dear Melinda. What a blessing! These days I find very little difference – energetically – between gratitude and grief. Without the labels? – only that “great joy” of which you speak…

  2. This post and deep grief arrived on the same day. What a relief to drop the words and pictures and allow the flood to just be the flood, washing everything, allowing grief be the natural raw heart-opener it is. But I hear you saying more, grief is not just a visitor, but a portal that opens and connects me to all beings, if I am willing to embrace it.

    You always stop me in my tracks. You expand and enrich my life. Your words are literally “stunning.”

    • Cara – this is so beautiful. The synchronicity – a timing no mortal could manage. I love that! We are such close co-travelers, seamlessly bound in love.

      Have you ever met a being who has not known grief? There’s a story I heard in India about a woman who goes to the Buddha bemoaning her tragic loss (I forget the details) and wanting him to take away her grief. He asks her to bring him a handful of black mustard seeds from a home where tragedy has not visited. She knocks on doors, and more doors, and cannot find a grief-free home. She goes back to the Buddha and tells him of her failure – and the heart of compassion bursts in her breast.

      Isn’t that wonderful?

      I am holding you as you sit fearlessly in your lotus of grief. Stay!

    • Dear Dominic – that’s just wonderful – thank you so much for your contribution. Reading the actual story of Kisagotami brought tears to my eyes; what a teaching!

      The whole page is an oasis of wisdom – I am reading slowly, and relishing…

  3. Louisa, I read this yesterday – in Franz Wright’s book God’s Silence.
    From the poem “Admission”

    I believe in a higher unseeable
    life, inconceivable
    of which light is mere shadow, and yet
    already, at times, and with desolation
    with bereftness no words can express, miss this light
    of the earth,this bright life
    I yesterday only began to love, to understand.

    I felt such happiness when I thought about you, and sharing this

  4. Pingback: the joy of dying | this unlit light

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