Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Upon Re-Entry

November 17, 2020
From a flower fairy

I’ve been here.

I’ve returned to school after a devastating loss before, and I did it again today.

Days like these are strange, tiring and full of uncertainty. Will I be able to hold myself together? Can I make it through? Do I have it in me to accept the “we missed you’s,” the knowing eyes and nods, and not break down into a blubbery mess?

I felt like one of those candies – the cherry cordials. The one with the waxy hard shell and the super gooey insides.

I hate cherry cordials.

Had it not been for the “soft landing” gifts my colleagues left me –

had it not been for the air hugs I was offered in the hallways –

had it not been for texts with little more than a heart or the word “hug” –

had it not been for friends to arrange dinner, or a bottle of wine, or an errand –

had it not been for supervisors who offered grace and assistance beyond what I could hope to expect –

had it not been for family members who gave unconditional support and validation –

had it not been for the notes of sympathy from students of mine who just wanted to reach out –

had it not been for flowers that awaited me after a long drive home from the funeral –

had it not been for my husband and son, whose physical presence at that funeral meant more than I could say –

had it not been for the power of hugs when they are discouraged but so desperately needed –

had it not been for a family not my own to take me as one of theirs in a time I felt utterly alone –

had it not been for friends who held me in love and compassion in those early nightmarish days –

this strong shell, already cracked to pieces, most certainly would have shattered.

Marking Time

April 18, 2020

Today marks five years since my brother’s passing.

Five years since I was working with my husband thinning out the hostas on an unseasonably warm April Saturday and I got the call that my brother was in the ER and that things didn’t look good, that I’d better come down quick.

Five years since I threw a bunch of random clothes in a bag and jumped in my car headed for St. Louis, only to be informed, as I’m turning onto the highway, that he had gone. That I was driving into the epicenter of a disaster that shook – that still shakes – our family to its core.

Five years since I sat awake that night on my parents’ couch, thinking of the devastation wrought upon them and my brother’s family.

I’ve written about my brother, or the way Grief and I have become close, over the last five years. I was thinking about which of those posts I might re-share today, which of those posts might best suit how I’m feeling.

And I suppose the one that I keep coming back to is the one that started it all. The one I composed that very first night, after talking countless times with my sisters over the phone, after sitting with my sister-in-law, and her son in their home, after being with my parents, and all of their grief. This one.

It surprises me how deeply it still reflects the way I see relationships, the way I see grief and compassion. I’ll leave it here for you today. Maybe some of you are in a space where you need it too:

So I heard this story the other day
About a guy
Who saw a lama for his pain.

And the lama
Had trained his heart
To grow big as the sea
So it could shoulder the
Burdens of the suffering
And replace them
With love.

The lama
Asked for the guy’s hands
And took them
Into his
And he asked for the guy’s grief
And took it
Into his heart
And the guy felt better.

I want to do that.

Not to be the guy.

The lama.

Let my heart swell
Let love flood.

Place your hands into mine.
I will ask for your pain
And my heart will open wide
And swallow your pain
In love.

(C) 2015, Lainie Levin.