Clearly I have broken my resolution. I have not been writing every day. In fact, I’ve barely been writing at all. To put it bluntly, the past two months have been terrible. A series of difficult events topped off by the loss of my beloved grandmother have made the time since my last post challenging, to say the least. But as it’s wont to do, the death has helped to put a lot of things into perspective for me. It hasn’t made the other challenges easier, but it has reminded me of the value of life, and the importance of trying to live it with joy.
That’s easier said than done, especially when you’re grieving. I’ve become very good at compartmentalizing, which may or may not be a good thing. But it’s been hard the past few weeks. Most people in this day and age, myself included, believe that you’re allowed a set amount of time to grieve, usually a week or so, and then you’re supposed to magically be over it. If you go over your socially acceptable amount of time, some people, especially New Yorkers, start to see you as a burden.
But let’s be real. When you lose somebody that you deeply love, it doesn’t actually work that way, does it?
When I was a freshman in college, I bought a book in a musty independent bookshop called “The Hell With Love: Poems to Mend a Broken Heart.” It’s a collection of poems divided among the stages of grief, and while it’s centered around a breakup, I’ve found solace in its words through all sorts of trials over the past decade.
I pulled it off my bookshelf this morning, and opened to these dog-eared pages:
In the Grove: The Poet at Ten by Jane Kenyon
She lay on her back at the timothy / and gazed past the doddering/auburn heads of sumac.
A cloud – huge, calm, / and dignified – covered the sun / but it did not, could not, put it out.
The light surged back again.
Nothing could rouse her then / from that joy so violent / it was hard to distinguish from pain.
In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver (excerpt)
To live in this world
you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it
against your bones knowing / your own life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go.
I have always found comfort in words, and though I tend to forget them after moving on with life, these particular words have always struck me. I’ll let them speak for themselves, but I hope that some of you may find comfort in them as well.
As for me, today, I suppose I’m the poet at ten. I’m not magically over anything, but I’ve realized that that’s ok. I’m still tangled in the branches, but I see the light. And it’s not going to stop me from smiling, getting out in the world, and enjoying all of the good things and new experiences ahead of me.