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Sitting with Grief, Looking for Hope

8 Comments 31 January 2011

Today is my MH’s eleventh birthday.  I love her more than I ever knew I could love her…today.  I laugh constantly at her wit, her charm and how mischievous she can be.  Yet, as I write this, and even as I sat yesterday morning and giggled with my dear friends at all of the “Mari-Helenisms” that we all love to repeat, I grieve.

My grief is not a reflection of any absence of love for her, nor does it preclude a celebration of her life.  It is instead, the most honest and truthful thing that accompanies me, as a mother who has a child that suffers.  We all know grief because we all suffer.

Eleven years ago today, February 1, 2000, I was a very different woman than I am today.  I would never go back, but all that has followed that day, in my story, has unraveled all that went before.

A new mentor in my life said that where I am today is a hard and painful place, yet it is fertile with possibility.  I am hopeful that this is true, as somuch has to be unlearned, so much has to be walked through.

Grief does not eliminate hope or happiness or joy, it simply offers a beautiful, stark and black background to the shiny moments of our lives.  I have felt an ‘obesity of grief’ fill my heart and mind so many times in these eleven years, but I am always brought round to hope.

I love my baby girl and I love my life.  Happy Birthday baby girl!

“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”

E. Bass

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8 Comments so far

  1. Jennifer Scherer says:

    Your honesty and transparency was exactly what I needed this morning. I’m praying for grace and peace for you & your beautiful MH today. Jennifer (Maddox) Scherer

  2. Aunt Jan says:

    Mari-Helen is so blessed to have the family that she has~~~~so much love and support!!! Love you bunches, Jorja Bea and so happy that you are back writing again.

    • Jorja says:

      janice kay, you are too kind to your rebellious niece! i love you and appreciate your support more than you know. love, love, love you

  3. Judy Helfand says:

    Somehow…my January 31 turned into a crazy day and I missed your post wishing MH a happy birthday. Do you remember when I wrote about dancing with my son at his wedding and the song by Carole King? “Child of Mine” — “Although you see the world different than me
    Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
    All the new colors and pictures you’ve designed
    Oh yes, sweet darling
    So glad you are a child of mine”

    I can imagine that MH is so glad you are the mother for her.

    Tomorrow I will be back to “Pull that String!”


  4. Mia Stancil says:

    As always, thank you for sharing the deepest places of your heart. These are great images you’ve shared as well. MH is beautiful and amazing, like her mama.

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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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