Friday, September 17, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Grief

It was a casual sentence that rested on the page of my devotional for the morning -- I asked my grandmother to pray for me.

Casual for some, I suppose, but not for me and not on this particular day.

Overwhelmed with the fact that she has been gone since April and has not managed to miraculously return, grief that I had thought already escaped renewed itself with a vengeance I had not felt in quite some time.

I had hunched down in my chair and as I looked out the window, all I could see was clouds.
As I watched the clouds roll by out my window, I thought how my grief played out right before my very eyes.  It seems to me that after some time has passed, I don't live out my grief on a daily basis any longer.  Routine life is white clouds, rolling by, changing shape, morphing as needed, as moved by the wind.  And then, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere, in rolls the dark, heavy-laden cloud, threatening to drown whatever lays below it.  It slices through the routine of life, not waiting for a convenient moment, barrelling through, angry, black, alone.

It dumps. I drown.  For a moment, I am awash in tears, my heart aching, threatening to stop beating as the pain stabs me over and over and over again.  Oh, Lord, why did you have to take her?

The movie plays in my head.  She holds me as a little girl.  We play dolls.  I tell her all about the the exciting things that *happened* as we made the long drive from Texas to Florida to visit her.  She teaches me to sew, she paints my nails, puts rollers in my hair, topped with a black, webbed hairnet.  I see her walking down the aisle at my wedding and giving me an old, worn bible, the very one she carried when she  married Howard.  I see her playing with my oldest child, bundled up against the cold as I nurse the new baby inside.  I see her whisper into Hannah's ear and hear the mutual giggles that ensue.  I hear her voice on the phone, not the scratchy voice that crackled out of her mouth in the last months, but the clear, strong voice of her better days. She says, I will pray for you.

The rain cloud passes, but honestly, I'm still a little damp.  The memory of the flood is close and it is difficult to choose to see the abundant life around me.  The white, puffy clouds that represent joy try to penetrate my very soul, soothe my anger, calm my spirit.  They invite me, perhaps tangible representations of my grandmother's very arms, reaching out to me from the sky.

It's so curious:  one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief.  But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.  ~Colette
Clouds are very difficult for me to draw, especially with charcoal pencils.  Although I don't like this piece at all, it is what I accomplished in my sabbath time this week and wanted to share.

I'm linking up with Jennifer at Studio JRU, Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary, and Michelle at Lost in the Prairies.

23 comments :

  1. oh, wow. precious. heart warming. awesome post.

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  2. jen, my heart knows only too well where you are. i know it feels like you can't breathe right now, and that you're just going through the motions of life. but as those clouds passed, so will this heaviness, and even though there will always be loss, the burden will lift. praying for you to find true comfort in the midst of this. xoxo this verse always helps me, "we also rejoice in our sufferings, for we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. and hope DOES NOT disappoint us." romans 5:3-5

    blessings, friend.

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  3. Well, Jen, I wish you were just around the corner too. I think I could easily take you on as my "second daughter."

    I do find joy in a lot of things but let me assure you, life is not all a "bowl of cherries" for me, nor anyone else. I never want to come across as one who has it all together and is just happy, happy all the time. I never loose my joy but I am not always happy. It's just that a lot of the concerns or burdens that I may have are just not things that need to be put out there in "blog world." :o)

    One of the things (it's a very happy thing) that I have not been able to blog about is my precious little Granddaughter. I do mention her but I've never shown a picture of her. Our son and his wife adopted her at her birth almost a year ago and they do not go to court for the final paper signing until another month and have chosen not to place any pictures of her on the internet at this time. I could write a hundred blogs about her and how the Lord led and directed in the whole adoption process. It is a beautiful story that I hope to be able to share one day.

    I'm not even sure where you live but would love to think that one day we would be able to meet face to face. You have been a blessing to me through your wonderful blog!

    Hugs to you!

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  4. Praying the rainbow of His promises and the comfort that only He can give to you will rest on you today. Praying for you!

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  5. Oh Jen, I'm so sorry for your loss. The absence of someone after a lifetime of strong presence is so difficult. I pray you'll make peace with her loss, and with God, slowly and fully.

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  6. Very well spoken words. It is hard to wrap our little human heads around death. I am sorry for your loss. May God guide you and comfort you today.

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  7. When you write about your grandma it is very raw...I can almost feel how much you miss her. It is a cloudy time, but slowly, the clouds will not feel as heavy and hopefully, a little sunshine will peek its way out.

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  8. Oh Jen..sweet sweet lady..I wept while reading this post. I know precisely what you were feeling as you wrote these precious words. I too profoundly loved my maternal grandmother. I promise to lift a prayer for you..and I hope soon you will find comfort to ease your sadness.

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  9. Wow...it left me breathless and teary! Thank you...

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  10. Jen, how beautifully you paint a picture of your relationship with your Grandmother. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I lost my grandmother last year, and while I know she is in a better place, it doesn't make it anymore difficult to be reminded that she is not here with me. I pray that the Lord brings comfort to you.

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  12. I look up to the clouds quite often...sometimes I pretend that if I look hard enough I'll see my dad looking down.....sometimes I look up and in my head say..'are you there dad'? My nana was also very precious to me..we spent almost every afternoon visiting, having tea...she would listen to all my troubles...always listening, never bawling me out....I loved her dearly and can't wait to see her again.

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  13. Grandparents hold such a special place in our hearts. I understand your pain and I am sorry your loss. Your cloud art is beautiful and I am glad your spirit found calm. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing! :)

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  14. Hi Jen! First of all I see your incourage bloggy bling, and I am fixing to add mine :) What date are you featured on? Mine is September 26th!
    Second of all, I loved your blog today, so timely. The blog I posted that you commented on was written today as I sit in the hospital fearful that we are going to lose my father in law. Grief is hard. The stages can come and go as they please in any order or completely random. However, there is such beauty in the fact that we can be content even in our pain. Blessings to you sweet girl. Your art is absolutely beautiful, you are a very gifted sister :)

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  15. Jen, I can truly identify with your grief. May the Lord make himself very real to you at this time! Your art is incredible. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

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  16. Beautiful post! I'm so sorry for your loss. She certainly sounds like one precious grandma. ♥

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  17. I'm reading and feeling many emotions. It has reminded me of my great grandmother and my precious relationship with her. It also reminds me of the relationships I help to cultivate with my own children and their grandparents and the joy that it will bring them.

    PS: I loved your charcoal drawing it truly shows the clouds and represents your range of emotions your going through.

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  18. You said that so well. Memories can warm our hearts...or sting like salt in a wound sometimes. This is true especially when they are of someone we miss so very much. Time does heal those wounds in a way that they are still there...but the salt can no longer make them sting. My mother died when I was six. I'm now 41 and I still miss her...but the years have healed that empty place by filling it with happy memories. Keep writing not only are you good at it...it helps heal the soul. =)

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  19. Jen, I can relate to this all too well -- this is the path I'm walking -- and will be walking for quite some time -- these days. Beautifully written with hope and peace.

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  20. After my Mama died, my Grandmother filled the space as best as she could(she still does!). I can't imagine life without her but I know it will come. You wrote about greif so beautifully. It doesn't seem like grief and beautiful should be side by side but I think that, at times, we are most beautiful to our Saviour in our grief. I also wanted to say that storm clouds are often not the most beautiful clouds and I think you captured your storm clouds just as you needed to see them. A rolling, tumbling mess of emotion that will one day become a beautiful blue sky with brilliant white clouds. Praying for you in this moment.

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  21. Holy moly, girl. Can you ever write...

    Beautifully stated, dear one. I lost my father nine years ago and while it most certainly is not quite as raw as it was soon after his death, the clouds do still move in. It's the risk we take when we open our hearts to love and it's so very worth it and yet so very hard.

    I will pray for you.

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire
    http://www.mommyonfire.com

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  22. I'm late in posting, I know, but I wanted to add this caveat...did you know that Native Americans (specifically, the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples, known to us as the Sioux) observe a one year period of mourning? Everyone in the community knows and expects that a person be in morning for the full year from the date of a loved one's death. Of course, the grief lasts beyond the prescribed mourning period, but I've watched as my friends observed this year. It's amazing what happens when an entire community gives you permission to be angry, sad, depressed, joyful, angry again as you work through your loss. The freedom of that permission actually speeds up the grieving process, in my opinion, enabling the griever to re-engage fully in life more quickly than those of us who try to grieve for a week, a month and then go back to work, act like everything's normal, move on.

    I am glad you are still grieving, still sharing your grief.

    I am glad you have given yourself permission.

    I love you, friend.

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  23. I am so late in all my visiting this week, but I wanted to thank you for stopping by, and thank you for this post. It is beautiful, honest and one that so many of us relate to. You are not alone. Blessings on your day.

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