In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
~ Robert Frost
As hard as it is to accept or even understand, Frost’s words are true. Life does go on. The sun rises, and a new day begins. And we are a part of it.
When we are in times of deep grief, it's almost impossible for us to get our heads and our hearts around life's moving on. And yet it happens. The hands on the clock continue to go ‘round, and one hour passes into another and into the next.
Part of the work of grief is to figure out what our place is as we enter what's next. Part of this grief work is to figure out where we are in the here and now. Meals need to be prepared, meetings need to be attended, the work needs to be done. This is here. This is now.
We are given no road map for this journey with grief. No one else’s instructions or directions can lead us from here to there. We are still here on this earth, in this season. Feeling what we are feeling. Holding on and letting go. The truth is: life is going on.
What brings me comfort and strength in this season is that those who I love, and miss are just a story away.
One late spring day years ago, I was sitting on a dock in north Georgia with my friend, GayBaby (her name always seemed to be one word). It was a perfect spring day. Warm with the sun shining down on us and a nice breeze was blowing, and time was our friend. We were sitting beside a lake and we were watching a turtle make her way along the shoreline just a bit away. GayBaby began telling me that turtles can carry time on their backs. [Editor’s note: Many of our conversations were just like this. She would say something that used English words, but sometimes made no real sense to me. Like this time at the lake…] How is, I asked her, that turtles can carry time? “Look at that old turtle’s back. See what’s painted on it? She’s carrying time – lunar months are all held, right there on her back. All of the world is there with her.” And then my friend looked at me and smiled and said, “and now because we see that in the turtle, in some wonderful way we are carrying time with us.”
Just like that old turtle making her way around the lake on that warm spring day, life goes on. My friend Gaybaby has been gone several years now, but she’s never far away. She’s right here in the telling of this story. And you can bet, she would tell it to you much, much better.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.