"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Season of Darkness



This is a season of darkness. Night barely gives day a chance to speak, and even then the skies are thick with rain-dense clouds. Terrible things are born in the deep shadows, then burst forth into the light before being consumed completely by their own black hearts.

Two years ago today, my adult daughter was overcome by her own inner darkness, unable to believe that light could break through. Many days now I don't think of her at all. But when I do, the thing that strikes me over and over again is the permanence of her death. There will be no more chances for her, for us, for a different sort of future.

On this unwanted anniversary I think about the other members of this club who helped me find my way in the earlier days of grieving. I know they mark their own anniversaries in a variety of ways. I know we've all learned to live and love though hearts exploded and tender and healing. I know the ending of our children's lives was just the beginning of a whole new landscape of endings for us.

The club grew by a significant number last week in a public and horrifying way.

This is also a season of hope. In a few days the Christian world celebrates the birth of a baby whose presence is a promise to defeat darkness forever. A birth symbolized by a shining star, one brilliant diamond of light in a night sky. A birth so threatening to the forces of darkness that great efforts were made to extinguish the light of that babe before he had a chance to become. Yet become he did.

In these last weeks as I've rested and healed, time has stretched long before me. Without the day-to-day to distract, and in the midst of gray gray hours, sparks that fill existence frequently unnoticed seem to be showering down:

A hundred Pine Siskins filling the air with fairy music, flurries of feathers, and flashes of sunlight embedded in their wings. Tame. Fearless. One so close I might have reached out to touch.

A Bald Eagle flying low and close, the first I've seen in months.

The kindness of friends willing to take time out of busy lives to make mine easier in a myriad of ways.

An owl duet in the pre-dawn.

Lilac buds, tight and green and full of promise.

Pain-free steps.

A morning with my mom as I made apple butter, using her recipe, my house filled with the perfume of cinnamon and cloves and forgiveness. I'm sorry she had to die before I could share my kitchen and my heart comfortably with her. I'm happy that even without her physical presence, it's not too late to learn to love her better.

The pulsing rhythms of drumming class that make music with my heartbeat and chase shadows to the far reaches of awareness.

Packages of heirloom sweet pea seeds, ordered, arrived and now waiting for the season to turn so the dormant life can be buried and then resurrected into fragrant, fragile blooms reaching and twining their way to the sun.

This is a season, too, of unlimited possibility—of choosing to see the sparks. We can reach out to each other in love. We can speak gratitude. We can pray. We can remember that astonishing beauty grows from the deepest darkness.


19 comments:

patricia said...

It is a dark time, but also a time that promises hope and light. I am so sorry for the anniversary you are experiencing, as I know how it weighs on you. Love and hugs to you.

Linda Reeder said...

Such a terrible anniversary, in a dark season. And yet, it is also a time of renewal. Everything needs rest and sleep. This is nature's nap. She has some stormy dreams, for sure, but she will awaken and perfume those sweet peas.

Linda Myers said...

Thinking of you today, Deb.

Retired English Teacher said...

You last line is so beautiful. I've thought about these same thoughts. I've thought how 20 more mothers joined our club, a club we did not choose to join. I almost wrote a blog about it. I still might, but I don't think I could bring the beauty to a post that you have brought with this one.

Darkness does not last forever. Spring will come. Those sweet peas will flourish. You will smell the sweetness that comes from the dark earth from which they will emerge. Thankfully, the terrible things "born of deep shadows" do not overtake us. Thankfully, we know that great beauty and peace and joy can from those darkest moments.

Deb said...

Thank you for this. It made me smile and reminded me to embrace all of the goodness and beauty in the world.

Richard said...

Darkness is a part of life. Without it, light would make no sense. It's the light within us that matters the most. The darkness is there as well. No way to avoid it. But it is a part of life. Sometimes you have to embrace the darkness to get to the light.

DJan said...

Beautiful post, and thoughtful and poignant comments as well. I write here because I am so glad to be a part of the world that holds you in it, and because I need to let you know how much your words have touched me. I especially love the time you spent with your mother in your kitchen, and I'll do the same. Thank you, dear Deb.

kario said...

And just as you have learned to love your mother even without her physical presence, your relationship with your daughter will deepen and change over time.

I am, as always, grateful for your light and love. Sending mine back your way.

Amber said...

Oh my, this is beautiful.

I wish I could sit with ou and get our thoughts on my mom... I don't know what to do.
Your words here about both your daughter and mom, touch me.

Love. You.

:)

Sandi said...

Oh Deb, beautifully written, taking me from tears to smiles, from darkness to light. Yesterday, I was remembering your anniversary, as I celebrated my birthday. Your tender words lifted me, reminded me of the hopefulness that abides within, despite the sometimes terror of reality. Our hearts are hopeful, and it is right that they are. Love you, sister of my soul.

Ann Carbine Best said...

Richard (above) says what I feel so eloquently. Yes, without darkness we would not be able to appreciate the light. And yes, Christ's birth is a reality that tells us at the end of the dark night, there is a glorious, and eternal, morning.

May you continue to heal through the kindnesses of family and friends, warm memories, and the beauties of nature that surrounds you. And I believe in the power of prayer.
Ann Best’s Blog

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

This time of year has always bee my hardest toget through. I t's a good thing that we have a time of celebration for it gets me over that hump. So glad you are feeling better too.

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Linda Hoye said...

Deb your words are beautiful, as always, and a gentle reminder that, even in the darkest night, we always have hope. Blessings to you.

Donna said...

As always...you have the most beautiful way of telling even the saddest events. I am feeling a little your same way tonight Deb. There are things I choose not to blog about but it has been a rough year. My husband lost both his parents, his twin brother and his business this year. I was diagnosed with cancer, had two surgeries and had chemo and radiation. It;'s hard yet I know I am blessed. Hugs....D

Laura said...

sending you love and much light...even as it begins to increase gradually on its own... so too with healing.

May this New Year be one of realized dreams… even those we did not realize we were dreaming!

deborahjbarker said...

Beautiful words both sad and sweet, Deb. I hope the light breaks through quickly this year. Loved the opening lines of this post but loved the last even more. Debbie

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