In the third year after my aunt’s death, grief began to change. Somehow my heart that had been ravaged and torn seemed to be growing a new depth, a new acceptance that could include both the wretchedness of loss, and a new way forward. The following is a little entry written from a friend’s camp in mid-coast Maine.
This morning Bodi and I walked through raggedy unmown fields that were heavy with dew, honeybees rising up from wildflowers in the early sun. At Eleanor’s, there were boisterous dog greetings, and time for tea and chatting.
We talked about aging and what to do about the future, how to get our needs met, and about loneliness – the scary fact of bad things happening when there’s no one to help. And all the responsibility, and who might share it as we age. And about grief, how to let everything go and still love the life you have. Eleanor said her sister is grieving after suffering a loss, is overwhelmed.
I remember the overwhelming part after you’d left. I think I am coming out of it now, though there is a limit to how much I can do without needing recovery time. Still, something of that lowness has loosened up, is coming to a kind of close.
This writing, too, might be rounding out. Here I am, at Eleanor’s, where I came in those hardest times to take breaks from the work that was endless and all the phone calls that were scary. After you’d gone, I came here to recover, slog through the grayest of months. To wait for little touches of the love room, the sweetness and surprises of you showing up.
Here, the quiet pond lapping over itself, owls booming in the night, the veeries and osprey, eagles and loons, the ocean at Owl’s Head, wide green fields, the wild silence – all teased something apart in me, helped soothe and soften the impossible truth of the end. Your end. Here, something was still good, alive. Lush, and trembling.
Now I paddle out over warm amber water, dip a hand into the pond, and somehow, maybe, the joy that wells up in my own life spills over into the well of all lives loved, especially yours. My life is still breathing into the love room, keeping you afloat.