A strong image of grief for me is the doorway. There is an entering in that often changes relationships and things are just not ever the same. I believe because of the courage that it takes to allow another to enter and the courage it takes to enter in ~ because of these heart-filled moments, what happens is deep and abiding love.
Death brings the most intimate of all experiences into the public domain. It often forces someone into the light when we feel most lost and vulnerable. Friends and acquaintances somehow learn of the death ~ through word-of-mouth or now through social media. It’s that image of ripping open a feather pillow and all the feathers are out in world, impossible to retrieve. This great loss becomes known. Where there was a deep and desperate void, there is now a doorway. An opening, an opportunity for entry.
Death comes in different ways: the physical ending of a loved one’s life, or a miscarriage, divorce, a break-up, disease, suffering of violent acts, loss of innocence. All these life events, these abrupt endings that make our hearts stop, all of these are places of grief. And they are for us, entryways.
A dear friend’s brother died this past week. Too soon. Too young. My friend risked the telling and I pray that she has felt the love of those of us who have entered into this deeply tragic loss with her. We have no answers. We have no way to fix this for her and her family. We have our love and prayers for light and healing. And we have been surrounding her since we heard. I am so very grateful that she found the courage of heart to allow us in.
Leonard Cohen’s words have been echoing in my heart this past week:
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There’s a crack in everything,
that’s how the light gets in.
He gives voice to the deep, aching silence of grief. He reminds us that there is love yet to share, hands to hold, candles to light.
My heart aches for my friend and her loss. And I am so grateful that she allowed others to enter into these tender days with her. Singing the song when memory fails as Donna Roberts wrote. It’s that. Everything has changed, nothing will be the same. But through this invitation, this entering in there is a companioning that can be all the difference.
Thank you, my friend. You are in my heart and prayers.
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Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.