For most of yesterday my thoughts were with a certain patient who’s dying, who may already have died (see last two days’ posts). Last night I lit an extra candle, this morning I meditated an extra period, then asked my monastery friend to add her name to the morning chant list of people who are ill or have died within the last 49 days. More than once I wanted to phone hospice and inquire; even better, to go there … in case I was needed.
Out comes an old tool: to ask What is this? and see where it leads. Each new loss, we’re told, causes old (unresolved) losses to re-emerge. Asking What is this? shows how I continue to cling to the memory of a love disrupted two years and four months ago. Asking again finds me trapped by a promise to be faithful to something and someone that’s no more.
John O’Donohue writes:
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly without warning,
You are ambushed with grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
source: “For grief” (partial) in: O’Donohue, J. (2008). To bless the space between us. New York: Doubleday, p. 119.