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SURMISES ON GRIEF - UNPACKED

Grief 10

I’m the reed by the lough shore

That suddenly swishes and sways

The deep fibres ripped from root

And all that I know gives way.

 

Culture shock silently creeping

I’m trying to track where’s next

It’s not that I don’t understand

But I cannot cue the context.

 

I know your mouth is moving

And I am here, I’m listening

It’s not that I cannot hear you

It’s the relevance that I’m missing

 

Being still to know that God is God

Working out, who now I am

Surmising where this wouldn't sting 

Crazy dreams of lions and lambs

 

Melancholy melodies salve a soul

Piano strings of redemption ring

That beautiful piece of heartache

As Karin like an angel sings

 

Be gentle on yourself, my soul

Walk the valley right on through

Stretch your hand in the loving direction

To the hand reaching out for you.

Let me take the poem one verse at a time..

 

I’m the reed by the lough shore

That suddenly swishes and sways

The deep fibres ripped from root

And all that I know gives way.

 

My friend Heather Carey shared this one. The fibres of the reed ripped out. It is the best description of the loss of a parent or I imagine a spouse. It is like your world shakes. Head, heart, soul and body sway. You keel over. You are blown over. 

 

Culture shock silently creeping

I’m trying to track where’s next

It’s not that I don’t understand

But I cannot cue the context.

 

I have experience culture shock in different places. I have lived for months in Africa and North America. It is always one of disorientation. It is like the compass you take for granted is broken. Your next move is blurred.

 

I know your mouth is moving

And I am here, I’m listening

It’s not that I cannot hear you

It’s the relevance that I’m missing

 

There is a lot of chatter around funerals. There are so many kind words. So many stories, some remembered and many never heard before. It is a helpful part of grieving. BUT there are times that people are chattering, filling the uncomfortable silences and it all seems so irrelevant. 

 

Being still to know that God is God

Working out, who now I am

Surmising where this wouldn't sting 

Crazy dreams of lions and lambs

 

God… and hope… psalm 46 encourages us to know God in the midst. Emmanuel (along with grace) is my favourite word - God with us. In Psalm 46 God is the solid ground as everything else shifts and quakes. 

But also… who I am? When mum died I was a motherless child. With dad’s passing an orphan. It stings but the audacious hope of eternity soothes.

 

Melancholy melodies salve a soul

Piano strings of redemption ring

That beautiful piece of heartache

As Karin like an angel sings

 

As everyone know knows me knows. Music is a conduit of the Spirit… of healing… of making sense. With my mum it was my friend Karin Bergquist (and Linford!) from Over The Rhine who whispered into my soul. With dad it has been Doug Gay’s suite of songs about his dad’s passing, Life After Death. Catharsis in songs - powerful.

 

Be gentle on yourself, my soul

Walk the valley right on through

Stretch your hand in the loving direction

To the hand reaching out for you.

 

So many people shared those “Be gentle with yourself” words when mum died. I think that I have spent five years trying to work out what they mean… and then how to do it. They are such wise words. Essential words. Grief is heavy and exhausting. Hiding away and resting is so helpful as we come to terms with loss.

And Janice’s hand is still the place where I find sense and some kind of healing… 

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