“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing
with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
– Saint Paul
I have my soft place to fall, it’s among the broken-hearted.
With them around me, I don’t need to pick myself up.
I can wallow in my tears for as long as I want
I can wail out every bit of brutality that my bones can bear.
They don’t judge me there or tell me it’s been too long
and I need to get over it.
They bring me warm coverings dressed in acceptance and love.
They serve me tea and sympathy.
They provide me with delectable offerings of kindness.
They let me flounder for as long as I want in the deepness and mire of it all.
They remind me that I am breakable
and that I may never be fixed.
I stay there for a while
among *shining-light parents,
some who have completely forgotten how to live
some who don’t know how to be in this world
some who don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning
many who say that their lives are over.
They gorge themselves on despair,
yet at the same time, they sup at lavish tables of grace.
In this place, I get swallowed up by my own self-pity,
my dark night of the soul.
We hold this trauma in our bodies for years
sometimes we soothe our wounds with harmful things
our form becomes weak with the burden of our loss.
Yet here in this sanctuary of tears they never ask hard questions,
they let me just be
they never ask me how he died
they ask me who he was
they exist with me in the celebration of his life.
They say his name out loud in these hallowed hallways of grief.
Then as time goes by, in their care, I am awakened with soft kisses.
They have held me in safe-keeping
bound up my open wounds
until I have wept out all my tears.
They don’t expect me to never return to this place,
the door is always open,
and they anticipate that the hard rain of sorrow may fall again.
Here they have helped soften my grief,
they have given me the resources to find my way in the dark.
They are the ones who give me the strength to get up
and face the world again
the now strange world where people still live their lives,
whereas my life just ground to a sudden halt when my son died.
You see I didn’t just lose my son.
I lost everything this beautiful life had planned for him.
I lost my hopes and my dreams,
and now I am absolutely terrified to dream again.
It’s like the hammer coming down on me
and I have become particles of matter floating about,
waiting for the end of my days when I can see him again.
I know that bravery is my cause, given to me by a force greater than myself,
words are my sanctuary raining down miracles
and I clutch onto signs every day.
Kind voices are my staying power.
I desire truth as my constant
I can no longer pretend that I’m okay all the time
and that the world is safe for me.
It is because of those who have come before me
those who have stared down this terrible darkness
that I am able to carefully tiptoe out of the horror of it
into the bright exposing light of my life.
I need to be fearless
in my faithful expression of grief,
where I have faced the very depths of suffering.
I don’t need to be pitied,
I just need to be understood,
maybe even honored for my bravery.
It doesn’t serve me to pretend that this isn’t hard.
Actually, pretense is the last thing I want to be acquainted with.
I must accompany my tears until the very end of this present age
and place them in God’s eternal jars for safe-keeping.
I want to always be found in realms where the holiness of love and peace
are my only resting place…
a promised land where death and darkness are no more!
(Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is a fearless journey I have undertaken in the presence of angels and my guides; it is pre-written in the Akash. I cannot avoid it, for it is my testing ground, my divine pilgrimage into something more wonderful than I can imagine)
*Shining light parents: The group “Helping Parents Heal” coined this phrase for bereaved parents.