I spoke last night with a dear young friend whose child did not live past his mother’s loving womb. Neither his broken-hearted mother nor father could, with their gentle hands, give him more life than they already had.
Months have passed now. Spring turned to summer, summer to fall, and now, December. The colorless seasons have come and gone in the unwinding path of grief.
It is a treacherous path where loved ones try to walk alongside, pointing to flowers that still bloom and leaves that turn brilliant. Sun and moon extend long arms of light and drops of water hang on to the blades of grass, sparkling. Eyes of grief have a hard time seeing these things.
I think of others who have traveled this way and of my own grief from times gone by and I wonder again how it is we make it through. We wrestle with words — do we “get through it” or “get past it?” Most bristle at the idea of “getting over it,” and, though no one’s experience is the same, prevalent is the advice that we should or should not say “get over it.”
We think, in our grief, that somehow the right words or the lack of wrong words will stop the pain. We think that the right response from lovers and friends will somehow unite them with our grief enough that the pain will stop.
That’s what we want; we want the pain to stop. And when we can, we realize that the words or the inability of those we love to really “get it” are not the fault. We just want the pain to stop. And we learn that we must endure.
Somehow in grief, as we live between its heavy lines — enduring if you will — color begins to return. No one can rush it any more than we can command the fall leaves to change color in time for the family pictures.
But somehow it happens. Often in fits and starts we are able to look back on our journey and see that love found us all along the way, though our grief may have been too heavy to respond.
Many tell their stories of these things — of how joy and sorrow met on that road we didn’t want to travel. For those who see the colorful lights of this season through tearful eyes, we send our love. That is all we have.