Grace for the Broken Places
It’s a beautiful September day. Yet, my heart is heavy. Understandable, I suppose, since it is September.
I’ve lived almost 25 Septembers beyond my son. And still, today, that long-ago report of his death feels as if it cracked open my heart only yesterday. Grief is such a tricky emotion, and this morning I feel that familiar sense of sinking down into those places where hope is only a word, and sorrow, a living thing.
I want to catch myself on the way down, so reach for this Gwen Flowers’ poem. I keep it close. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s message reminds me that the ever-shifting grief I still endure no longer gets to identify the me I’ve fought to become.
“I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was the sad time
That followed the death of
Someone you love.
And you had to push through it
To get to the other side.
But I’m learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
There is absorption.
And grief is not something you complete,
But rather, you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish
And move on,
But an element of yourself –
An alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self.”
This poem always lifts me into a place where grace, its mercy and peace, has a chance to overtake grief. I read over and over its last 14 lines and relive my understanding, my acceptance, that grief and I are forever connected . . . each changing over time, yes, but never fully apart. How I choose to live within that “new definition of self” is ultimately up to me.
My heart will forever bear the wounds of that earlier September morning. But, for now my shoulders soften, my eyes close and my breath deepens. I feel the warmth of light, the solace of grace, begin to seep into those broken places. My free fall slows; I sense Matt’s smile, and I smile back in thanks.
I wish you the light and peace of grace. May they bring understanding, comfort and healing into your broken places.