Grief’s Visit Her dress was drab, a dull brown that blended in with everything, the bark of the trees, the walnut paneling on the wall, so most of the time she didn’t stand out, not the way her sister does with her sunny yellows and passionate pinks. But today, her chestnut, russet and umber hues held the light just enough that you were aware of her when she was in the room. We sat there together at the kitchen table, hoping that if we did something normal, like share a cup of tea, we might feel like our usual selves. Her stare was ghostly, like she’d left her spirit on the other side of the lake during our early morning walk. Her ‘smile’, well you couldn’t really call it that; it was a dash at the bottom of her face; not like punctuation, more like a cut, maybe even a gash, the kind you get when you aren’t paying attention and slice into your skin near your fingernail. She said she was ravenous for silence and solitude. If she could only devour enough of it, she’d get her energy back, her body would start working again, the way it used to, before. So she stood up somewhat unsteady and left for the stillness and sanctuary of bed and covered herself up, slowly with the edge of the quilt balled in her hand and pulling it all the way around and over her head.
I share this poem in the spirit of embracing all that is, all of what is in being human. These dark moments hollow us out so that joy can flow back in.
This poem is also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.