08 June 2009

time since... thirteen months

That unlucky number. Teenagers begin. Dangerous territory. But there are those who are always there to navigate through those treacherous times. They seem untouchable, impervious to the pain and struggles that some of us are tumbled into. Saturday, I met up with my next door neighbor growing up. It's always good to have a next door best friend. Someone to get in trouble with... someone to get out of trouble with... someone to tell your troubles to. We had a particular lady in our neighborhood who guided us through those turbulent years. She was our youth leader at church, but came to be so much more. She is ethereal, magical, moves through this world with grace. We babysat her beloved children. When she made cookies she always shared, said they didn't taste as good unless you sent a portion on to someone else. She had these kissing angels on the coffee table. When she was upset at her husband she would turn them away from each other a signal that they needed to "talk" and turn once again toward. She organized the playroom, something I was particularly fascinated by -- all the fisher price people in one colored can, the animals in another and so on, I looked forward to cleaning up after the kids so I could see those colored cans all in rainbow rows on the shelf. Her family became instrumental in some of the big decision in my and my husband's life. She is in my heart always. And Saturday, my next door best friend and I went to the funeral of her oldest son who had taken his own life. A wife and three children left lingering. But, oh my, the mother. I held on to her tight and stroked her hair. I recognized that tin-foil shell, a protection barely enough to get you through the worst moments. So painful to see her struggle and not be able to take any of it away. Her husband in the only word I can think of... shock. Saying to me, you know how this is, isn't this horrible, just horrible. I ponder often of our life stories, we just never know how it will be finished. Unimaginable. Mothers are so intertwined in our narrative. The strongest and yet the most vulnerable. I thought back to over the past year and how I have grieved -- for my mother, gone. And now I grieve for this mother. Facing that wall of uncertainty and questions never answered; why?

Second Sowing by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

For whom
The milk ungiven in the breast 
When the child is gone?

For whom
The love locked up in the heart
That is left alone?
That golden yeild
Split sod once, overflowed an August field,
Threshed out in pain upon September's floor 
Now boarded high in barns a sterile store.

Break down the bolted door;
Rip open, spread and pour
The grain upon the barren ground 
Wherever crack in clod is found. 

There is no harvest for the heart alone;
The seed of love must be 
Eternally
Resown.

4 comments:

karengberger said...

Oh my goodness...that poem. Anne Morrow Lindbergh: she would know, she would understand. I had forgotten all about her story.

I am so deeply sorry for your friend/neighbor's loss. I believe & I pray that you will be a true comfort to them, and perhaps in some way, that will comfort your heart in your loss. I pray it will be so. God bless you and your friends.

TLJ said...

what a sad thing. i love the poem. prayers for that sweet family.

brandonandlexee said...

Yeah Dylan and carly told me about it and I have been sick all week. I have such a hard time with those kind of things and I didn't even know that family. I hope they will be ok with the love of their family and friends around them. You are a good friend

ohleslie said...

Okay--that's it. You truly have a gift with writing and capturing the human experience in a way that both honors and engages. I'm wondering where you go from here, what the next step is. We need to talk about it. Did you see that Tikla is getting married? We considering coming down for the reception - it was such a neat surprise when you appeared at Shara's celebration.