August 7 – Keeping Vigil

Thursday August 7  –  Grieving

Making oatmeal and tea this morning I noticed more sadness in me than usual.    Several good friends have lost someone too young to lose;  others have been orphaned by keeping vigil with an older generation. Other wounds are lodged in the flesh of soul friends;  require imagination to notice and courage to tell those stories and to listen to the telling.

“Story telling and story listening are the works of love alive in the press of the day’s labors”:  the words seemed to come with the the oatmeal and the tea, like raisins.  For you too I hope.

Have a good day.


john sj

Today’s Post

My niece, Terri Breeden, writes flint-hard poems sometimes.  In “The Living” she grieves the loss of her grandmother who died at 102 and stretches to include her young son in the grieving.

      The Living

It's strange the things people say
after a death, crooked attempts
to comfort. Things like, "Oh,

well she was old. She had a long life."
or "She was ready to go.” One woman
even said, her hand resting on my shoulder

“Her death was easy; that
should make you happy."
Happy. Easy. Words I never

put together with death, words I still
can’t quite get my arms around
no matter my wingspan.

And I think, Oh, this stumbling
over language as if it were new,
despite a familiarity with time,

the exhaustion and experience
of years, despite consideration of death,
having greeted that recognizable face before.

It is easy to forget, tangled
in words of comfort,
that the dead

are dead; they do not feel
the pain of departing,
do not need to be consoled.

It is those who are left
who know the burden of sad and hard,
bowed low beneath the weight of loss.

My son will never know her. He will never
understand why when he glares, shoulders
angled back and jaw thrust out

stubborn like her, belligerent and
ready for a fight, I, a fighter too,
can only cry and hold him close.

Terri Breeden

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