When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

~ Kahlil Gibran, from"The Prophet"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Seven Months Today...

"Real grief is not healed by time... If time does anything, it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who she was for us, and the more intimately we experience what her love meant for us. Real, deep love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted.

Therefore, it is often only in retrospect - or better, in memory - that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain."

~ Henri Nouwen
This morning, seven months since Erin passed away, I feel relieved reading this passage written by Fr Nouwen.

I sometimes grow tired of hearing people tell me my grief will lessen with time ~ that it will become less raw, less intense.
What about the saying less is more?
I'm told the edges will soften. Grief won't be front and center.

I just don't get that...

Perhaps they're right, but at this point I feel comfort in the validity of my gut feelings as I read his words. Maybe it's because it's a benchmark day, seven months, and sometimes these days stand in prominence - become more jagged than just an ordinary day, whatever that is anymore.

During the time I knew Erin was going to die, I threw myself into loving her. As I saw more pain, my love dug deeper - to protect, to absorb. When there is a known deadline to life on earth, it dramatically changes the way you look at things and allows the opportunity to see EVERYTHING at a level that is previously not understood. Therefore, I learned NOT take ANYTHING for granted, and I was given a gift that those whose loved ones die a sudden, tragic death are not afforded.

For that time with Erin and that awareness, I'm so grateful.

I can only imagine missing her MORE rather than less though, as those moments and that love, merely "unobtrusive, seemingly easy, obvious and so present" that occurred during the 15 wonderful years before she was sick that I DID take for granted at the time, continue to surface with growing clarity. And then I combine those with everything I experienced during the days when I knew she was going to leave me...

How in heaven's name is it supposed to get easier when there is SO MUCH future to live without her? I can only image that the intensity of the grief I feel in the part of my body in which I carried her will deepen. There has to be interdependence between grief and love. That's all I can figure.

Thank you Fr Nouwen. I agree with you.


  1. You can run fast, you can drive fast, but you can't grieve fast. Fr. Nouwen is a wise man.

  2. I'm thinking about you today, Mrs. Potts.

    Love always,

  3. sending love, Mary
    x teri

  4. On July 18th my daughter Donna was 35! Can't believe I have to admit to a child that old. I am thinking about you Mary because I agree that grief is never less. I think it's different, depending on the day, but never less. Because we love our children more every day in life, why wouldn't the same apply in death? Keep loving her more every day and embrace the grief....it will be different another day. May her spirit be your warm blanket.

  5. Oh Pat...thank you so very much.
    These words are extraordinary.

  6. You know, someone who is gone, who has "passed" - I guess that is the "polite" way to express it - in so many ways is out of our reach, but in other ways is always so-so-so very close. I believe they are still here, but just not present to our earthly five senses. The earthly body was a vessel for that spirit that lives on... We ache to connect, and sometimes, fleetingly, we manage to - for that moment we can feel peace or joy, and always that love... But our human body in this world feels that ache for real when we have lost someone, there is no denying it. And a mother surely must feel it all the more deeply and enduringly. I, too, agree with Henri Nouwen, who is, indeed, a very wise man.

    I will be sharing this passage with a good friend who lost her son tragically and, almost three years later, still feels the raw pain of that loss.

    You, Mary, are a very wise, and strong, woman... You are living what most of us cannot even Imagine living, and, from all appearances, doing it so well, if living after part of you dies can be done "well" - for whatever way a mother reacts to losing her child, it is her way, and there can be little doubt she is "doing her best" and that best just has to be "good enough"... Every passage of your blog shares such a depth of knowledge and experience with the rest of us who read it, in numb silence, knowing nothing we can say will take away the ache in your core.

    My thoughts continue to be with you.