One year ago today...

It was one year ago today that Dianne's beloved mother died. Hard to believe it was a full year come and gone: sometimes it seems like an eternity while at other times it doesn't even seem real. There is just no planning for grief, is there? Di felt wave after wave of fragility today - you can't plan for this kind of thing I reminded her when she called from work - so we'll ride it out together (I postponed my "praying the psalms" to live into our own lament.) Emily Dickinson had a unique take on grieving in her poem, "I measure every grief I meet."

I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled--
Some thousands--on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;

Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.

The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,--
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes.

There's grief of want, and grief of cold,--
A sort they call 'despair,'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross
Of those that stand alone
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

In time's like this, I tend to drift back to Auden:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


So I will cook up our favorite comfort food of pasta and meat sauce, pour some red wine and see what the night holds for us both. (hadn't thought about this tune but... who can chart the path of grief, yes?)

Comments

SGF said…
My thoughts are with you both!
RJ said…
thanks dear man...
Black Pete said…
At the risk of trespass through ignorance, I offer this Youtube fragment, from A River Runs Through It:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJkzmS_WTQI&feature=related
RJ said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
RJ said…
thank you my dear man: I love this portion of this sweet, sweet movie more than I can tell you. When my girls were small, we went to see it 3 times in one week - and have treasured it ever since. They even painted a portion of this - with this exact quote - on a sunday school wall back in the early 90s as their confirmation class gift to the church. bless you.
Black Pete said…
Glad that it said what I hoped to you both, RJ.

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