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Posts Tagged ‘widowhood’

winter treeI thought I could write today. I thought I would title this post, the Widow’s Lament, but really, to what end? I am forging on, for good or ill, the way I usually do, with busyness and tasks. In this way, I can push back the other, that unnameable thing some call grief, but the word barely scratches at the guts of the experience.

Williams Carlos Williams wrote a beautiful poem entitled the Widow’s Lament, but it also carries the hope of renewal within it, set in the spring. For me, it is still winter, cold short days and bitter wind and frozen tears falling white.

I sought out scripture about widows, and we, like orphans, defined by our aloneness, are cast upon the body for care and love. I am grateful for it, I can say that plainly for my capable self is perilously close to shattering her illusion. Keep busy. What is worse? To collapse under the weight of it all and cast one’s being into the flurry of well-intentioned voices and pursuits or brave it well by appearance and lose support? Where is the middle ground? I am not a blubbering mess, not really, but I am also not a tower of strength. Stay close, my people, the way is long.

True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us. [James 1:27, CEB]

I found these words, I dedicate them to my children, that they might know something of the truth (written by Lauren Bacall, at the death of her beloved husband, Humphrey Bogart):

A new beginning for me, the making of a life without Bogie . . . And from the time of his death–and more and more–his teachings have permeated by being. With each passing year I find myself repeating more and more often to my three children and to many of my friends his words of wisdom . . . how two become one and is that one way people live on after death? . . . So imagine my shock when I realized, at the tender age of sixty-five, that with all the above, the final truth is this: I live alone. I need a reason for all that I do, not just fill my days but to unleash my energy, to make me feel warm, that I matter, to satisfy my emotions. When I travel, which is often, who do I buy things for? My children. to whom do I send postcards? My children. Who do I call? My children. they are my connection. My connection with yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And so I imagine it will be (and is) with me: my children and my God and the people who love and need to be loved.

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