Monday, October 24, 2011


It’s been a week since my sister-in-law died. Grief comes in waves. I function, laugh, take walks, and then wham!

On Saturday, I had bustled around, doing errands and chores. No problem. That night I could not sleep. When I did begin to doze, odd creatures threatened the edges of my consciousness. My legs cramped. I got up and rubbed them with an analgesic lotion. Still no sleep. I found a book but couldn’t read. Finally, I ran a warm bath then tried sleeping on the guest bed. That worked for a while.

But I slept Sunday night. So far today, I’ve only been overwhelmed by sorrow a couple of times. Yard work in the sunshine helped.

It’s interesting to notice what does help. Cheese helps. For five days in a row, I had scrambled eggs with cheese for dinner. [I knew carbohydrates were comforting. Cholesterol is new information.] Going back to church, talking about Jayne’s death to people in my community helped. Crying a little helped.

And cats. Guinness and I play in the morning sunshine as he ‘helps’ me make my bed. And they both cuddle and purr.

Television, even DVD movies don’t help. Perhaps tonight. Oddly, reading helps – perhaps because more focus is required.

And of course friends help. One of them connected me to a sermon by Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed who had delivered it to Unity Temple, the Unitarian Universalist church in Oak Park, Illinois. The sermon centered on a poem by Elder Olson:

"Nothing is lost; the universe is honest,
Time, like the sea, gives all back in the end,
But only in its own way, on its own conditions:
Empires as grains of sand, forests as coal,
Mountains as pebbles. Be still, be still, I say;
You were never the water, only a wave;
Not substance, but a form substance assumed."

The sermon and the poem reminded me of a phrase by Thich Nhat Hahn that I have read and heard and which inevitably blows me out of my egocentricity: “Enlightenment comes to the wave when it realizes it is part of the ocean.”

Still, the loss is overwhelming – even when part of me knows it is not really a loss.

I miss her.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear of the passing of your sister-in-law. Grief does come at us at the odds hours and from the odds things. I don't think there is any one thing that helps because what works today probably won't tomorrow. May your thoughts be only happy memories to help comfort you during this time of sorrow. Sending you hugs and keeping you in my prayers.

    Thoughts in Progress
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