Archive for October, 2010

WindCoral (my soul sister I have yet to meet physically)’s response to my previous post made me think of a Hopi Prayer. It is probably not new to many:

HOPI PRAYER of The Soul’s Graduation:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there,
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
On the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.
My Spirit is still alive…


I understand, I understand.

This truth sometimes feels like a knife’s edge, thin yet sturdy, a sharp line. This truth draws me to it, entices me to lean into its edge and let the blood flow.


Read Full Post »

I am not lost

If I back out of our garage and then drive round the curve of my street, I come to the next street in our neighborhood and in the last months it seems a few families with younger kids had populated the houses previously on sale, and with the weather cooling down, they are playing outside more.

This afternoon I was backing out my car and I heard a child’s wailing. Uh oh, I thought, someone’s not happy there. Maybe a fight going on. Or someone fell from a bike, or something.

Slowly I rounded the curve, and sitting on the curb of that curve, a small boy. A bicycle laid close by, on its side, temporarily abandoned. He had his little head buried in his palms, sobbing.

I slowed down, stopped my car, unbuckled my seat belt. I opened my car door and stepped out. The little boy stopped, looked up and just as I took my first step towards him, ready to ask, “Are you ok?” , he wiped the back of his hand across his eyes and uttered loud and clear, “I am not lost or anything!”

“You’ll be ok?”

“Yes… …”

I got back in, buckled and slowly drove away.

I am not lost.

His words reverberated in my head.

And for some reason, my heart broke all over again.

Just when I felt I may just be starting to heal.

Tonight I am utterly broken.

It will never be ok. I once thought one day I will be ok. I will be able to lift my face to the sun and smile, and feel the rays of light shimmy into the cracks in my bosom, and I would sigh and smile and feel a lightness amidst the heaviness. And perhaps my heart will lift a little, flutter a bit.

Maybe that day will still come. But it is not tonight.

Read Full Post »

seasons of grief

I have been wondering how my grief will feel different if I’ve never left the tropics, because this past year I began to discern my grief feels different in every season. Not that every season has a clearly different face, for the grief warps and weaves through time and there is always some constant, but perhaps what my eyes perceive and what my body feels affect how my grief feels. Or perhaps, it is the other way around. The seasons felt that way as I meet them with my bereaved soul.

Summer is the worst, the season when he left us. Especially here in AZ, the oppressive, dry and unrelenting heat made it difficult to breathe, and the never-ending heat and its intensity morphed into a metaphor for my acute grief and eternal missing. The memories of that summer weighed heavy on me, obnoxiously sitting on my chest, grinding away. When the rain would not come, it felt my tears could not be released either.

Then, autumn. Colors change, temperatures dip. Watching life prepare to rest, or return to earth, once again, releases my grip on grief. I let go. I see the cycle of life play out and listen as gentle songs tickle in my ears, humming of meeting again and dust forever circulating. I recall our first autumn after Ferdinand died– the deep melancholy, and how a year had passed since we first knew that he was in my womb  — but not having him with us. The sadness is more gentle. We made fires that consume our sorrow and sent our love up in the smoke. As stars seem to freeze in the velvet dark skies, and we shudder within our warm layers, we gaze up and feel that cold in our heart, and reach our hands over our hearts to warm that chill of grief with passionate missing and love.

Winter. The holidays trigger the flurry of why’s and if-only’s. I endeavor exercises in gratitude and celebration, attempting to demonstrate to my living children that no matter what, we still have so much to be grateful for. No matter what, Ferdinand is with us, in our hearts, peeping over our shoulders even. In winter I contemplate. I curl up within and bring a candle into my cave and mull over those philosophical questions about life and why and about crap. I see friends, I see families, I see children and I miss him. But in a different way from in the summer. Winter can feel warm: the extra layers we throw on, the heater never knowing what’s the best temperature for us, the hot chocolate, the steaming cookies, warm baths and comfort food. The friendship and concern people show. I think all those temper the grief a little. And then also make it worse a little.

Spring. The first spring after, when tiny, bright green and tender leaves began to sprout, I felt there must be hope. Life must thrive again. No matter how dark the winter, and how quiet and seemingly dead it had been, life must spring forth again. That first spring it was important for me to see that life would come forth. Of course I saw too that some life did not make it. Some tress never came to again and every beginning of life involved some form of struggle, as we saw it out in the wild. Life can falter. But it never really gave up. That first spring made me grind my teeth and plod on. Now, when spring comes, I think, “Look at all this life. The other side of death.”

How about you? Is it different for you? What is the most difficult season for you? How are you for autumn?

Read Full Post »



There is no crisp autumn air to bite into; the apples they come encased in hard plastic trays, out of the big building called Cost.co.

This year we did not harvest apples from our cabin. This year fall seems slow in coming, the valley still humid and way too warm.

But I see it in the calendar and something in my bones begin to give a little, ready to curl up, yearning for tea, cake and conversation. A desire arise for winds to whip my hair around my face, to disappear into my jacket, and to hug my children close, stealing their warmth. Every year I still think of the prayer below, and once again I share it here. And if you like the photo above, there are more here, where you get to see how fall is in 30 different countries. Tell me your favorite, if you have one. I can’t decide between: Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Lithuania, Scotland and Taiwan. No one beats Nature, and chance, at art and beauty. But lucky is the eye who gets to behold it all.


Prayer for Autumn Days

God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.
– Author Unknown

Read Full Post »

three things

I’ve missed being online, time and life just not allowing that to happen. I keep wondering what’s going on out in cyber-world, what you have been up to, what you have been doing, if autumn had arrived on your door-step?

It had been hot here, but we got rain the last two days.

Thing 1: I am back on that thing called Face.book, but for shameful reasons. I am not there to connect with people, and I still am overwhelmed by how that thing works. The truth is, I was forced to activate my account because my being still salivates with consumerism. Yes, I fessed up! But I did not vanish with a puff of smoke. Yet. There are a few apparel companies that I like but they insist that I Fri.end them on Facebook if I want to be included in the lucky draw. So, I caved. Shame on me, yes. A few of you have found me and I am just digging my head into the sand in shame. If I am silent it is because I still need to get a hang of this thing and it feels like I may never. I feel like a dinosaur.

Thing2: We made up a list of things you can only see/do/experience in Arizona. Since we plan to move, now is the time to do all the Arizona specials. We started last week: Biosphere 2, Titan Missile Museum, Pima Air & Space Museum. I kicked and screamed about the Missile one, since R was the one who put that on the list. Unlike him I have no interest in war history, weapons or technology (reminder: I am a dinosaur). So he dragged me there, and I am so glad. Totally changed my perspective and it was a cool tour. We even got to activate the missile. The lights came on and all but the missile did not fire.

When we entered the museum I could not help but notice the name above the museum. Not just because of the title of “Count” but also the name that begins with F, but also the name that begins with G. Galen was on our list of considerations, it meant “healer.” I thought, how funny that this Count have both names, who is he? I asked and was told he was Director on the board and actively supports education about peace and he also supports the Air & Space Museum. He bought the site of the museum and gave the museum a loan to build it up but later wrote off the loan. R said he must be German and when we goo.gled we found he was related to this man.

I miss my son.

Thing 3: Dr Joanne Cacciatore had asked that I contribute something to the MISS Foundation’s newsletter. I would love to, but I am not sure what. She said anything. Can you help me find that anything? Any particular thing that you enjoy, and think fellow bereaved reading the newsletter will like to read too? I am not having the mind space to write anything new right now (though it is often right after I say I will be quiet when all the ideas come…) but would love to contribute something. If there was a particular piece that especially resonated with you, I would love to hear. Thank you.

I hope life has been gentle with you. And I hope to be catching up with you all soon.

Read Full Post »