Sunday, June 29, 2008
Self portraits: Friday, in bed, after the funeral + yesterday afternoon
Dictionary.com defines grief as "keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss", and certainly that definition describes how I've been feeling after the death of my grandmother this past week. I've not mourned in many, many years, and I had forgotten how profoundly unpleasant it can be, how emotionally and physically draining.
When I used to ponder my grandmother dying, I never assumed it would be as hard as it's been on me, or my family; she was old--ancient, really--and had lived the classic "good, long life", so I guess I assumed through my rose-colored mental picture, that when she finally passed away, we would all be ok. But we weren't, aren't. We all grieve, each and every one of us connected to her, because my grandmother was special in a way that words can't express. Certainly I tried in my posting last week to capture her spirit, as did my brother, John, in his informal eulogy at the funeral parlor on Thursday, and her priest at the funeral on Friday. But what I realize now is that all three of us failed miserably at our task, through no fault of our own, because Mary Miksad was beyond words; words cannot describe perfection. And that is why we grieve. We grieve because we lost something rare, something unique to this earth, something irreplaceable, something precious. We know it, and we lament it.
I know my grandmother would not want me to be in the state that I have been in--sorrowful beyond words, filled to the brim with profound sadness--and yesterday afternoon she told me so in an email. This poem arrived in one of the sympathy cards my parents received, and my mother thought it was so beautiful that she typed it out and sent it to my family. Yet I am convinced it was not my mother that typed out these words and hit the 'send' button, but my grandmother, sending it through her. I was laying on the sofa, feeling melancholy and listless when it arrived in my inbox; I read it, and had one good, long, last (I can hope) cry, then got up from the sofa, wiped away my tears, and started to become the person that my grandmother would want to see, want me to be. Yesterday that meant getting my hair dyed and cut, filling the refrigerator and cupboards with food once again, going to the gym, and slowly getting my spirit, and my smile back. Even in death my grandmother continues to inspire me, teach me lessons.
I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
in this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in Heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh! but Jesus' love illumined
'Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
'Could I have one doubt or dread:
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still:
Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
Pray to trust our Father's Will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth-
You shall rest in Jesus' land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!