on grief

thanks to Brenda Schmidt, the great Sask. poet (see blog, alone on a boreal stage), I read this posting by someone called Dr. Ursus, a physican/poet living somewhere in Canada.


a profound commentary on grief,

this year, grief has circled like a brown hawk above us, our family

– and why should we be different than any other family?  

I suppose our great challenge however, is that unlike most, we have a rather unique situation in that we lost our beloved 26 year old to the northern Pacific. we shall never see her again. nor her partner. 31 years of age. capable. good. strong. lovely. why do the good die young, we ask, or is it that we are all good at 26? or maybe it’s their very goodness that magnifies the loss? 

and how do we grieve when we will never know the date of their death? how they died? with just the wide sea as their witness? literally fallen off (or into) the face of the earth

and sometimes I wonder what they saw on that raw ocean that they became a part of, what truths, what revelation, or was it simply nothingness

and where does that leave us but to continue to live, to witness, to love, to sometimes just put one foot in front of the other…

a month ago, I attended one of our fallen soldier’s funeral. and it wasn’t the shiny brass buttons, the lone piper, the tenderness of his platoon mates as they hoisted his coffin onto their shoulders, kneeled gently so as not scrape his casket on the lintel as they entered the church, that touched me, though that was certainly moving. no, it was the NASCAR stickers peaking out from under the Canadian flag cinched tight around the box… that somehow in death, this soldier’s personality, humour, carried on…


we grieved our girl this summer. it was a hot, gorgeous blue sky day in August for which we had prepared for several weeks. flowers. food. notices. service. hymns. it should have been a wedding and not a funeral. it should have been… it should have been… there is Ursus’  “door of despair” opening for me in those three words…

in a parallel universe, maybe the wedding did happen, after all, we saw it in our minds that day – C. looking so beautiful, long dark curls… some of us even dreamed of her dress…

is this despair to imagine this? grief’s “torture”, as Ursus describes…

anyway, somehow we made it through the funeral (no body, no date, just nothingness and imagination), adjourned to the parents’ home and had one hell of a party… a musical family, we sang, played music, my daughter played fiddle, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we wept, we even did the bloody Chicken Dance (oh there’s that damn wedding image again) because it was one of our girl’s favourites… until 4 a.m.

for one night, we danced on death, saved our grief for all the tomorrows


One thought on “on grief

  1. I’m late to this one. ‘Glad I looked in.

    She would have liked the chicken dance! What else is there to do in the face of such an early, untimely death, but to dance and celebrate the life that was–and that still is, somewhere in the mystery of the continuing, unfolding universe and, certainly, in the hearts and memories of her family and friends?

    I like to picture the arms of the the One who created and loved these two into being, enfolding them when their own parents and loved ones were unable to. I’m sure that the One who sees the sparrow fall was/is with them on their continuing journey.

    That said, the loss of a loved one, so young and in such mysterious circumstances, has got to be one of the most devastating of losses. One foot in front of the other, maybe for a long time.

    May C. rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon her.

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