Tag Archives: grief

sister

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I think I’ll plant daffodils around their headstone. I was in Arkansas this weekend at the small country cemetery where my mother and father’s ashes will one day be buried. Dad was born around here; a sister of mine lived down the road. Daffodils were blooming everywhere, covering yards in thick clusters, and that sister, now gone, was much on my mind. We all planted dozens of bulbs in her yard for her during her last autumn, a few months before she left us forever. Days before she was taken to the hospital—a place from which we all knew she would not return alive—I walked with my daughter to look at the green daffodil stalks in my sister’s yard. They represented love for her. In those months before her dying, we would have done anything for her, bought her anything she wanted, taken her anywhere she wanted to go. There were parts of her that were the best of us.

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My daughter was in her 20s; my sister’s daughters were 11 and 5. I remember realizing that she would never do this simple thing I was doing—walking with a grown daughter. The pain around that was sharp like a honed blade and achy dull at the same time.

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She didn’t live to see her daffodils or her daughters bloom. When I see those flowers in this place near where she had her home and family, she lives again in me; her final, bittersweet leaving is daffodil fragrant inside.  Mom and Dad will like having them nodding their yellow heads around their grave, I think. I think my sister will like it, too.

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bitter

She’s still bitter. I don’t blame her, but life is both sorrow and joy. There is nothing we get to keep forever, not even our lives. I ran across Wordworth‘s words the other day, and I wanted to email them to her….

What though the radiance which was once so bright/Be now forever taken from my sight,/Though nothing can bring back the hour /Of splendor in the grass, or glory in the flower;/We will grieve not, rather find/Strength in what remains behind….

But I didn’t. Nor did I watch the aching long-ago movie with those words as its theme. As a young woman, when I saw the movie, I didn’t understand it. But now I do. Hold tight to what you love while you have it, grieve it when it’s gone, but move on…and on…and on…..because that’s what life does.

Have you let go yet? Tell me how you did it….