Friday, June 10, 2011

Silent Season

A portrait of Joey's guitar as it appeared at his memorial service.
Photo and print by Elis MacDonald

I noticed yesterday that I have had a long period of silence on my blog and forced myself to re-engage, if only in the most simple way. I recognized that this is my silent season. When Mother's Day came in May, I braced myself for the season of sorrow and loss that comes in the weeks that follow. Joey's anniversary day came next, and now Father's Day is coming in a week-- a day which is particularly difficult for Joe. I have found myself sinking inside. Zombie-like. Slumping under the weight of it all. Trying not to think or feel too much. Speechless. Unable to put what I feel into words. I force myself to write because it staves off depression when I do. I think I am simply stunned speechless by the sorrow of this world, and my own little corner of it. I ache for those who ache, particularly other bereaved parents, friends who are going through the same sorrows at this time of year. My friend Sharon has her beautiful Angie's anniversary coming soon too, and I am holding my breath for her. There have been a spate of child deaths in our town, and though I don't know any of the families, I know friends of the families. It is overwhelming, to say the least.

Sadness is unavoidable with these parent holidays, and Joey's death day falling right between them both. Three years ago, on this day in June, we were in stunned numbness, being between two memorial services-- packing up the one in LA, that came after Mother's Day and marching toward the one in Maui which was scheduled for Father's Day.  We were reeling from the shock of his sudden death, and the devastation of the cremation that followed. We were sorting through Joey's things, everyone of them now a priceless treasure, and packing them up, and giving them away to those he loved. It was excruciating, and beyond doubt the worst days of my life. Only a couple of weeks before, we had been walking on the beach with him. Death is so cruel. At this time of year, all that comes back in an onslaught.

My friend Melissa pointed out to me that this season comes right after Easter, and that there is a mercy in that. I hadn't considered that. Easter is the perfect predicate to my silent season. When others are wrapping up Lent, my Lent is just starting. But the wonder is that Easter is there at all. Hope prevails.  I am into Easter now. Very into Easter. Resurrection, hope, reunion, the end of all tears, sorrow and pain. It is really a blessed portal and backdrop for the two months that follow. It helps me to know that for the rest of my life, my silent season will be prefaced by the most hopeful holiday of them all. I will always have that to look forward to, to brace me, to support me, to undergird me with truth that can carry me through the darkness.

How firm a foundation for grief.

John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."


Robin said...

I love what you've said about Easter. This third one was the first on which I felt any confidence in its gifts, and you've articulated so beautifully that it's a promising foundation for the bleak summer months ahead. For us it goes from Mother's Day to a week-end of Father's Day, husband's birthday, and our anniversary, to my birthday, to all the kids' birthdays, to Sept. 2 -- and then thank God we have a break until the winter holidays.

I used to LOVE summer and now I basically endure it.

karen gerstenberger said...

I'm so grateful to your friend for pointing this out, and to you, for being able to hear it, and pass it on to us. Above all, I'm thankful to God for His reaching out to us always, whether we see it or not, in love and solidarity.
Sending love to you, dear friend.

Jenny said...

I've been grieving with you, dear friend. My heart aches for you and your family as I know the pain too well. I am thinking that maybe it is time to cross the water for a cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

Than you dear friend for the reminder. xoxo Sharon

Jeri said...

You're in my many thoughts and prayers. May God's peace and love pour down like a healing balm on you.
Love you all!

Anonymous said...

It brought tears to my eyes as I was looking at the guitar picture. It is funny, cause yesterday I found the original as I was cleaning up my pictures. I haven't seen that picture in a while. I thought about you and prayed. Today I open your blog and here it is again.
In Joey's memorial It was hard to see the most beautiful family I know suffering so much, in so much pain. I felt helpless. I just wish I could take way the sorrow that you were all feeling for just a moment.
I love you and I am always thinking of you, E