There was an awesome picture I saw recently, an artist’s rendition of an elder lady dancing with her cane. The suggestion was that if we all start the day that way, life might look differently. I was inspired by that, but most mornings, I forget to dance.
This is a season though, of collective mourning for many, and I’m reminded of the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:4, which says: “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,”
September seems to be a month of remembrances for me. It is not all sadness and goodbyes, it was also hello to the birth of two of my children, and my sweet little granddaughter. Those are happy dates we celebrate.
It is the month my first husband of 19 years died, in 1995, a date I always remember.
Twenty five years ago, I remember exactly where I was when we heard the news of Princess Diana’s tragic accident, and it impacted me. She was a fairytale in my lifetime, a princess with a complicated story, and a generous heart. I ached for her sons, because I knew too well the heartache my own children were experiencing at that time, losing their dad at a young age.
I was on a walk when I heard about the death of Queen Elizabeth. My phone vibrated, and there was the news, news that would dominate the headlines, and the heralding of a new king.
How do I feel, as I observe, and listen? How does this affect you?
I cannot imagine the public life and scrutiny of the royals, their lives really not their own. Some applaud Harry and Megan for breaking away, but still their lives are watched, and judged. I know Harry loved his mother, and grandmother, and I pray for him and all the family who are mourning.
There are some who say this shouldn’t be a big deal, the Queen was part of colonialism. I get that. I understand that the monarchy can be an affront, especially to our Indigenous people, and I care about that.
But the queen, like all of us, didn’t get to choose the life she was born into, and lived it out the best way she knew how, serving the people. One has to admire her dedication and loyalty to service. She was a model of continuity, of steadiness, and even of stability in a changing world. I’m sure she felt helpless and dismayed at times about the state of the world. She would talk about her faith and how that helped her. I believe she tried to be a positive influence in the role in which she found herself.
There are many mourning this September. Yes we all know about the queen, but each of us have others we remember. I don’t know when in my life I have attended and participated in so many celebrations of life, of memorials. There are children without fathers, husbands or wives who are learning what it means to be widowed, friends missing friends. Others have said goodbye to their parent, or grandparent.
One does not get over grief. No, it shapes our lives, and our bodies, and spirits hold on to those memories that are an intrinsic part of our lives. We are shaped by our relationships, for good, or bad. We come to acknowledge the gifts of knowing someone, sharing our lives with them, memories intertwined and part of our story. And as we loved, we also live with the sadness of missing them on this earth.
I’m forever grateful for the gifts I’ve received, the lessons I’ve learned in my seasons of grief. Life is short, so they say, and each day is a gift we are given. Even in grief, we can choose to live intentionally, to love, and listen. And we pray for all who mourn, that they would be comforted.