It is the first day of May as I write this.
Time to turn those calendar pages, if you still have those old-fashioned calendars hanging in your home. Even though my phone, my computer, and even my watch tell me the date, I like those reminders on my wall.
I was reflecting on the month of April we have just walked through, and in many ways there was so much joy as spring in Canada finally appeared, and I am loving the brilliant greens, the spring flowers, the new warmth of the sun. The birds sing every morning, they are filled with praise!
But for many this April, it was a solemn month, a month of tragedy, and Canada collectively is mourning the terrible loss of young lives, of young hockey players, and their support team. And more recently we have shuddered at the terror of a van in Toronto, killing people at random, and we wonder whatever possessed this driver to take life so senselessly.
These public events affect us.
But there has also been much more personal grief, the home-going of loved ones who do not make the headlines, but changes the fabric of people’s lives forever.
This weekend I will be spending time with my New Hope friends as we talk about grief and remember our spouses who have died. This kind of retreat takes courage for those who come, but it is helpful and healing to share our stories, to remember, and have tools to live with hope in the midst of loss.
It is five years ago now that we journeyed with my mother as she prepared for heaven. I wrote a poem after she died about turning the page. Writing these words helped me in my own grief… and while we celebrated her life, and I think about her every day, I also know she would encourage me to “turn the page”, and live life well.
The danger of grief is that we can get stuck in yesterday. There is a fine balance of cherishing our memories, and embracing the life we have today, even as we plan for tomorrow. This is not always easy for those who are in the midst of deep grief.
Here is the poem I wrote, which is also in the brochure “Poetry for the Grieving Heart” now available on my website: www.gracewulff.com, under the Resources page.
My calendar says June. It is time to turn the page.
I really don’t want to…
Mom didn’t want to see June,
but we were blessed by June.
Two more weeks to love and talk and smell the roses.
I really don’t want to turn the page…
the last of the flowers, those last flowers I bought
for her the Thursday before she died,
bright happy gerbers, yellows and pinks…
I hung on to the yellow ones, and they have crumpled
Yellow petals and pollen fallen on my mantle
And I can’t bear to clean it up.
Gifts of love
fill my fridge… we eat, not hungry
Reminders everywhere of family love
Of being together
Of sharing these moments together
The house now empty
but full of reminders.
I don’t want to change the page.
I don’t want to clean it up…
I want to hang on and sit and remember
And as I water the fading flowers
And wipe the tears…
I really don’t want to celebrate this Canada Day
My flag flies at half mast
The world more empty
And I know that I know
that I am grieving..
and that others grieve with me,
And that she would encourage me
to turn the page.