Another quote from John Burnside’s essay in Poetry Review, “Travelling into the Quotidian:Â Some notes on Allison Funkâ€™s â€˜Heartlandâ€™ poems” (2005)
“It takes the patience â€“ or the perversity â€“ of a saint to live alone in a state of grace; the rest of us want to speak about that bourne from which we have, miraculously, returned. Or rather, not to speak, but to sing. It will seem, more often than not, that our off-map experiences are utterly private and beyond communication.”
Wow and wow and wow.Â This what I am experiencing!!
I was recently sitting with a lovely woman, a Quaker, talking about Grace.Â I told her that before Ayrie died I had never used the word grace.Â I honestly didn’t even understand whatÂ it meant.
But since I have been writing my blog people have thanked me for showing them how to grieve with grace.Â I didn’t know what it meant at first but now I think I do.Â I think it’s those moments when, in the middle of my longing and pain, I can still search for beauty and I still feel blessed. Â It’s when, in the middle of the chaos of having my life turned upside down and feel still and peaceful.Â I think it’s the healing that I offer other people when even at the same moment I need to be heal.Â It’s accepting every comment or gesture that people offer with gratitude, not analyzing their words or super-imposing expectations.Â Some friends have done nothing more than offer a few words.Â Some not at all.Â And that’s okay.Â I think people do what they can and I think some people are frozen by grief, frozen by their concern that their words or gestures might be ‘wrong’.Â So I try to appreciate graciously everyone that has love and good intentions in their heart, and to not absorb the negative energy of those that don’t.
This is grace. Â And living and grieving with grace feels right. Â It feels as though it lets me access aÂ reservoirÂ of strength that would otherwise beÂ unavailableÂ to be. Â Have you felt this before too?
I’m so glad that you posted this, Nora. Yes, I often find myself frozen by grief, and find words to be utterly inadequate. I think that there are no words to explain the hurt that I feel for you, the sadness that I feel about Ayrie being gone, the tears that I cry when I’m inexplicably going through my day and I see something that reminds me of the beauty of life or fragility of life. But sometimes that’s what we have-words, and intentions. Nora, you are inspiring at so many levels. Here, you’ve laid out your heart for all to see, grieving and celebrating openly, building an amazing record of your feelings, hopes, fears and dreams. And you don’t even like to write! I don’t know that I would have the strength or fortitude to do this, but it gives me hope to know that there are people like you who can, and inspires me to be a better person.
Grace is the perfect word to describe your life and your grieving. So many other people, perhaps myself included, might want to hide away and internalize the pain. But you are able to see the good and positive in everything, even among unbelievable heartbreak. There are some small moments of inevitable bitterness, darkness and self doubt. But overwhelmingly you project an openness and yes, grace, that is healing, comforting and inspiring. I have so much appreciation to give you, and words still seem inadequate. For now, it will have to do. Thank you, Nora. The light and beauty that you give to the world is an inspiration.
Nora, I really can’t add to your and Christine’s beautiful words and sentiments. I just want to echo them. The word and gestalt of “Grace” has come to mind (and heart) so many times over the last two and a half months. You embody and live that Grace and it is inspiring, but please don’t feel that you can’t have moments of doubt for fear of disappointing those you inspire. We love you and lift you up as you lift us up and restore our faith in humanity. Symbiotic. (How’s that for living between Faith and Science?)
With Love and Gratitude,
I am so very humbled by your grace, you are so very beautiful in your mind and person as you walk through life. Your grace has always been a part of you and your way of living, absolutely in your parenting, and now in your grief. I am struck by your ability to life yourself above the inevitable feelings to a place of giving and love even when you are so heartbroken. Specifically, your ability to redirect the priest so gracefully, your ability to work through your thoughts without acting on them right away, knowing that in the waves of the coming minutes, days, weeks months, you will be changing, stretching, understanding things so differently. I keep saying this, but I have to once again, thank you for being the person that you are, it sets a standard, an expectation for all of us too, to rise above and be the best we can be-you are helping to bring us peace, joy, love, and honesty. I hope that this will spread, because you are making this world a better place, with your actions and your words.
You absolutely have got to write that book!
Sending more hugs and love your way!
Oops! Life is suppose to be lift! Sorry!
I have moved during the week to WI so it has been hard to be in touch. I want you to know I am sending you lots of love through prayer.
I do share with you an off the map experience of loss and grief since my son is only 50 in the world with MEB/CMD. He shows me the way and is my teacher. I also believe he is a Saint. My road is painful and I too feel in a way that can not be explained to others who have not had the suffering of a loved one- especially, a child. In my aloness, it is where, I find myself, and the teachings… (It is more than one person should handle alone.) Yet, even with people, and loved ones around, and kindness being offered- we will find ourself in the depth of our pain and loss. There is no way out of it. However, with each breathe you take it will carry you to the next and you will find yourself breathing in joy, yet, in a more beautiful way, than before. It is in honor of our loved one, who has taught us how to endure pain, and embrace the love that is offered in each moment. I was given a gift through my sufferings to take life more lightly, yet feel with more depth. I walk with more purpose and passion. I do not want to let my son’s suffering go with out a purpose.
I believe it is with friends and family- Nora, you will make it, and are making it. Thank you, for spreading your light, and comfort to all of us.
Nora, I don’t have your phone number. Please send it to me.
I do believe it is important to take care of yourself by whatever means that will be for you. I have massages, bodywork, and candles. I hope you will find ways to relieve the deep sorrow you feel on a regular bases when you travel a road that seems so unkind.
God Bless you, and keep you.
Continue to let your heart imbrace each moment no matter what comes up for you- and you will stay healthy and alive.
PS I was told by an Elder of an Indian tribe that when a child leaves a mother here behind on earth. We as mothers, learn to communicate with our child in a different way, as you have shown through your writings- it is in the breeze…it is through spirit
No worries…found ur #- smile. April