When There Are No Answers

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all” — Emily Dickinson

Some days need to be subdued.  In the silence you can hear your thoughts – jumbled though they may be, scatological and spontaneous, making sense maybe, perhaps not.  Maybe it’s the mind’s way of trying to integrate contradictory stimuli.

Is it the phases of the moon or just the stages of life that bring four of my cherished friends to the ragged edge of loss this weekend?  Remarkable people who have never met, marking anniversaries of loss, experiencing the passing of a beloved family member, and/or finding themselves staring straight into the sea of frightening inevitability which we deny for as long as we can?  And why does life’s corollary have to be so untenable?  I have no idea.

I don’t know if there’s a heaven; I have a hard time conceiving of hell.  I think I’m very faithful, for I believe in many things that I can’t see – and for me, it is the simplest way to embrace something as indescribably huge as faith.  And love.  And hope.  I know that when we have to let go, we never really do.  One of my friends was relating the conversation she and her brother had with their dad, telling him that they were okay, that they would be okay…My sister and I had similar discussions with our parents when they were arguably between two worlds.  And yesterday I thought to myself that sometimes the idea of leaving is untenable because we don’t want to leave our children with no barrier against mortality.  The thought that they have to assume a different and arguably scarier position when we are no longer physically here.  The mere thought is anathema to me.  Life – that is all that we want our loved ones to embrace.  How dissonant to suggest that our abdication requires their assumption of a new place in line?  Perhaps one of the greatest acts of love is hanging in there if one can, with the invisible, powerful hope that we are still protecting those we love beyond measure.

I believe that some souls come into our life for a brief time, and leave indelible imprints on our hearts, our approach to each day, etc.  Some remind us that we are loved, when we doubt it; others nurture us when we have forgotten how to do this for ourselves; defiantly protect us when we are emotionally over-exposed.  Are they angels?  Their miraculous arrival and elusive departure suggest they could be.  Is there a better way to define a lifeline when it is provided and holds you together with unshakeable confidence and purpose?

I know the canned answer is that the experience of sorrow somehow makes the moments of joy all the lovelier.  Loss underscores our appreciation of that which we have.  It sounds good enough to become a cliché, though like most trite comments, it doesn’t necessarily resonate in the heart.  Hope however, has wings.  Hope that forever is a place, that love remembered is a blessing and love extended is a gift.  I wish it didn’t have to hurt so damn much.  I wish that tears weren’t necessary.  The daffodil shoots are stubbornly insisting on breaking through the frozen ground – indifferent to the reality that greets them when they appear.  They persist – with faith.  They will flourish in the spring – with hope.

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68 thoughts on “When There Are No Answers

  1. what a beautifully written piece — this so reflects how I feel –and until I read it, I did not know that this is how I feel — I hang onto tenuous hope too–though at times I truly do need a miracle–one wonders how to go on sometimes–but I do it for my children

  2. Mimi, this is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read ~ Your heartfelt emotions, reasoning and understanding is amazing. I especially love the daffodil reference. They are my special flower at this time of year…thank you. xo

  3. Of all of the many gorgeous things that you have written, I think this is the most gorgeous, Mimi. I am sorry that it was written through tears. Xoxo

  4. Ahhh, my Mimi, you know how deeply this post resonates with me at this moment. You are so right about these special souls–they take many forms. Thank you for this balm to my aching heart..you are an angel to more than one….xoxox, l

    • You were on my mind this morning sweetie – as you were last night. If this provides any comfort then I am really gratified that I was able to articulate what is in my heart…xoxox, m

  5. Beautifully written, Mimi. I lost one of my dearest friends about 20 years ago. We were the same age. I made a committment then that I would live for both of us. Since then, I have valued my life even more, and held myself to a higher standard. I miss her every day and I thank her every day, for who she was and who she continues to be.

    • I love the way you choose to keep her alive – by living for her as well. I too lost someone incredibly close to me over ten years ago. She embodies the definition of life – and she committed suicide. The dissonance of this reality still haunts me. But I too think of her everyday, talk with her with almost the same frequency and include her in all my magical moments. There is a post in our story, but I can’t get there just yet..

  6. The way you wrote about assuming a new position once our parents are gone and how eloquently you write that as parents one of the greatest acts of love is to keep the boundaries of mortality in place could not be truer. This piece is touching and fortifying as your words weave a quilt of comfort for your friends whose mourning/ suffering has just begun and for those of us who get up every morning only to be amazed that it evolves along with us. What an extraordinarily powerful piece!

    • Thank you Jo…Your comment yesterday about it being ten years, some of the losses others are experiencing. Grief is almost like a living enitity unto itself and needs to be honored as such. And for our children? Yes, anything top protect their position on this timeline…xox

  7. Very beautiful and timely. Right now, the first of my cousins are on the verge of becoming orphans. Their mother, my aunt, is between two worlds. It is a reminder that I am now at that age where the death of loved ones becomes more frequent and a reminder to make the most of every moment left. And I hope perhaps some day, I will be like my grandmother, peacefully accepting death, knowing that on the other side was a beautiful heaven where she would be reunited with the love of her life, Peter, my grandfather.

    • And it is her faith in that which she couldn’t see that separates the peaceful from the anxious (at least on this topic I think). SHe sounds like a wonderful, loving soul.

  8. Once again, your words leave me speechless…but with the best feelings of comfort and love. You are truly an angel, so present in every moment and I am so grateful – and in awe – that your wing span is gracious enough to provide care and protection all the way over to me. It’s a gift that you could put into such gorgeous prose the experiences of those you love and care for; I can imagine you holding each one of us as carefully as a treasured and delicate family heirloom. To find my story as part of the texture, one of the layers, is incredibly reassuring. I just love the image of the daffodils rising up despite all the odds against them; they don’t know there is an alternative to hope. You are a treasure and one that I appreciate each moment in each day. all there is…xoxox

    • Hi BonBon..yes, you are part of this post, and you are treasured and appreciated by many more people than you realize. I am warmed at the thought that this gave you reassurance and some comfort and reminded you that hope can be a relentless force if we allow it to be…love you..oxo

  9. So touching. I miss being able to spend more time slowing down and reading your wise words. Hope to be back again soon. Hope your friends can feel surrounded by the love that I can feel in just reading this.

  10. Pingback: Holding Tight the Laces « {PaperKeeper}

  11. This was such a beautiful post Mimi, beautifully written and profound thoughts expressed so simply and clearly – the best sort of writing. You are so right abut the children keeping you going and holding you here… and then suddenly there is the shatteringly glorious gift of grandchildren and the first real experience of mutual unconditional love…

    • Hi Val, I don’t have grandchildren yet – but look forward to the prospect with such excitement. And perhaps those glorious babies inspire us to stay still longer. For where else does one get unconditional love? Well…my pups love me unconditionally…:-)

  12. Reblogged this on JUSTICE FOR RAYMOND and commented:
    Needs no words of explanation…”Life – that is all that we want our loved ones to embrace……Hope has wings…..I wish it didn’t have to hurt so damn much.”
    I can feel the pain of loss in this post, words that are hard to form when we are still missing that one person from our life. Hope that we will see them again one day in the afterlife.
    God bless all that are suffering that loss.

  13. If you have salvation, then you have “the comforter” living inside you; if you believe in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross for us, he will never leave you, and the holy spirit (what I refer to as “the comforter”) will never let you down:) Cling to that! And if you have that, He has a hedge of protection around you. You will see that loved one again in a better place where they have a new body, and there are no tears or any sickness – all is love and beauty and bliss:) bmg in NC

    • I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. There are no words more apt than “reeling from the pain” – for it must be enveloping and all-consuming. I hope you are embraced by family and friends and that in time there will come moments that you remember with a bittersweet smile – but a smile nonetheless. And may her memory always be a blessing. In this time of blinding senselessness, may you find some comfort in the knowledge that love knows no time or space – it is forever. I’m thinking of you and grieve with and for you, though we have never met..

  14. Wow. I am aware of TersiaBurger’s daughter dying, and I agree that this post really has you feel. Just, feel.

    Excellent, and beautiful.

  15. I saved this posting so that I may re-read it today on the anniversary of my brother’s passing. I cried and smiled at the same time while reading. As always you provide me with what I need, when I need it. Thank you!!

    • I am honored to think you are planning to re-read this on the important, revered day in your family. I just hope it offers some comfort to those who will be in attendance – most importantly you. Thank you so much

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