Ode for a grieving Mother
Author’s note: This ode is dedicated to someone close to me. If you have suffered grief, please feel free to replace the pronouns or read it in such a way suitable for your situation. Grief is not easy to bear and I pray this ode will be helpful.
On a cold, desolate night, it feeds on the lonely. It triumphs in the woes of the weary, who shiver in its shadows and tremble ‘neath the frigid air. The only thoughts running through her mind are “why did this happen” and “when will it end”?
In the blazing sun, it seizes fragile hearts. It conquers the unquenched soul of the parched tongue who only tastes the salty tears of agony. Unable to reason and ready to give up, her only hope is a blind faith that one day she will have joy again in her life.
Who is this heartless creature who lurks in the shadows, anticipating the most callous times to rear its ugly head, blemishing us like an ugly scar? It is none other than one of humankind’s oldest emotions. It is Grief.
At times it is birthed at the moment of death. Its purpose is to haunt those in despair. Its fanfare is hopelessness; its fuel is anguish. It is cold in virtue, bold in destiny, unescapable, unless one is accomplished in living life without the ability to love.
How will she escape this daunting menace? What will relinquish its colossal grip around every fiber of her being? She could not sense it; no crystal ball foresaw its arrival. That morning, she never anticipated the entrance of this most undesirable houseguest.
No doorbell rang, not even a knock. Like two-headed Janus presiding over fate’s door, it burst in, shadowing her at every turn, bearing gifts of sorrows, sadness, and suffering. Its constant clamoring nary made a sound but echoed ceaselessly in her broken heart.
The days lingered on while time seemed to stop. Every tick of the clock was a reminder of her unwelcomed guest. One day, with all her might and strength from her soul, she finally mustered the courage to ask him the question which haunted her every waking breath.
“Why did he have to send you!” she cried with a shrill in her voice so distraught even she had never heard this tone from herself. Looking perplexed, Grief turned to her and softly whispered,
“What is it about him that makes you believe,
My presence is something he’d ever conceive?
It was not his choice from his family to leave
Nor was it his intent for his mother to grieve.”
There was a hint of hope in his voice. For the first time ever he’d uttered no words of despair. They landed on her ear as a refreshing cool breeze. She pondered for a moment; is it finally possible to converse with her loathsome guest?
“Your son was considerate, a remarkable boy
His exit was unplanned, not a deliberate ploy
And If he had his wish for someone to deploy
He’d have sent my twin sister, whose name is Joy.”
At that moment, she could not hold back the river of tears she’d been restraining. Just as the Ancient Israelites crossed the River Jordan into the promise land, her tears promised her a new hope, one which she thought might have never resumed.
“At times I’ve felt guilty, but now must confess
The greater your love, the grander my success
It is an enigma which can both curse and bless
But never forget Love’s power in excess.”
As her tears waned, she realized it was in those moments when her heart was lost in the fondest memories of her son, those were the times his chatter resonated the loudest. Her grief was so great because her love was so strong.
She resolved to merge the tears of regrets with ones of awareness that Grief was only a cruel reminder of the strength and power of her love.
“How are you doing? Joy is my name.
I am Grief’s sister, as he did proclaim.
To assist you in life is my only aim,
To answer your prayer is why I came.”
Unlike her brother's arrival, she never saw Joy enter her home. It was an unexpected pleasure but all the same, she was confounded by the suddenness of her company. How long had she gone unnoticed and unattended? Was there anything she could do for her new and enchanting guest?
“You may not believe this but I want you to know
I’ve always been with you from a long time ago.
Grief blocked the light I was trying to show
Now, please accept all these gifts I bestow.”
She sat in silence, wanting to laugh, cry, curse, and delight all at once. It was overwhelming, but just has she had done so many times as a mother, she persisted. She gave herself no choice. It was up to her now to accept what both Grief and Joy were bringing her.
Love’s loss creates a deep scar. Comfort comes in part, by knowing the agony is a testament to love. The pain of remembering is the joy of the memory. It is the curse – and blessing – of the human experience.
Grief is inevitable. We cannot prevent it. If we embrace it as a measure of love, we can prevail and become a rock of hope for someone new to the experience. And we can help them have Joy again in their lives.
The picture is of a recent view of the Jordan River. I pray this ode provided a ray of hope and insight into the challenging task of dealing with grief. I look forward to your comments.