My Newest Now


I sat in my usual spot and sense my son is close enough to touch my right shoulder. My desk chair sits far enough away from my desk and computer screen so that if I want, I can lean back to hide any tears that might come unexpectedly.


“Really?! You signed up to explore your grief again? When will enough be enough?” I chide myself.

And I hear Matt’s whisper, “Never.”


Here’s what happened:


Katie, the workshop leader, provided a reading from C.S Lewis’, “A Grief Observed.” There was so much in those few paragraphs that described me during those early years after Matt’s death. But then she gave us a prompt that pushed me – head and heart - into the path of my still-present, 20-year-old grief. It asked me to recognize my suffering right now . . . and try using a compassionate lens.


After considering how I’m living with grief now, here’s what I discovered:


Today’s suffering is like a slow, meandering stream. It flows quietly through me, contained within its banks, a constant, as present as the fluid moving of my beating heart. I’m unaware of it as profound until a word or thought, a sound, a sight – or in C.S Lewis terms, “a sudden jab of red-hot memory” – awakens me to that ever-present truth of deep grief, always inside.


Then Matt’s loss feels fresh again. I’m flooded with that familiar pain and feel the stream build strength; it rushes, overflows its banks and washes through me. It’s then I hear myself call his name aloud, apologize for failing him, and tell him how much I miss seeing him in this world. And, with the acceptance of my own pain, kindness arrives, and I sense the stream, like my heartbeats, slowly begin to calm and retreat.


Grace really does appear more frequently than suffering in my Now. Though my grief hasn’t become smaller, my life around it has grown larger, more full, and I no longer automatically abandon myself in its wake. I’m grateful for this newest understanding. Matt’s right: it seems for some life explorations, enough is never enough.


Always wishing you grace and understanding as you continue forward, into your Now –

Jane

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