Today’s post isn’t necessarily about education, but then learning comes in all sorts of packages.
My lesson will come when I stand on a shore and call upon the waves to wash away all of my grief.
Alas, like Millay reveals in her poem, “Time does not bring relief; you all have lied” posted below, neither wave nor time can bring relief. After over ten years, I still miss my mom’s lilting voice and the way her smile lit up a space. And I miss my dad’s advice, strangely enough to say, and the deep voice that pauses in his poetry. I miss my grandmother’s strength and her get-it-done attitude. (She would’ve been a terrific spokesperson for Nike). I miss talking with my brother, who died just last month, who’s boasting politics made a long-distance relationship safer, but whose death took his humor and his family stories away.
Some say loss creates a huge hole in one’s life. But a hole implies absence and emptiness, and yet sometimes a loss is painfully present. The lie that time will heal hurts sometimes more than the wounds of a person gone from our lives.
As the losses add up, including those beyond the physical death, those small ways we once connected–with a hug, a chat over coffee, a dinner with loved ones–our yearning grows powerful.
Today’s weeping rain nor the lure of standing on a shore may not be today’s lesson for you, but when those sleeper waves that will knock you on your keister (as my mom was fond of saying), take a look at Millay’s poem and the shore of your sorrow. On those days, the wave will try to drag you out to drown. Don’t let it. Instead, may you cling tight to the light of this world, back away from the edges, brush the sand off, and sit in the sun to feel its divine warmth. Explore the tidepools swirling with the happiness and sadness of life. Watch the birds and smell the sea. Allow your breath to follow the rhythm of the waves. No doubt, the past’s bitter loving will be heaped on our hearts. And likely, there will be future loving piled onto past wounds.
Today, I will dismiss the wish to remove the grief. I will look out to the horizon knowing Sun will set, throwing its special light across the sand. I will remember the darkness will come and recede, like the waves. And the surest feeling will come with the light that will spill into life again. Then I will stand to reclaim Life and hope you will too, to make ourselves anew.
“Time does not bring relief; you all have lied”
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied Who told me time would ease me of my pain! I miss him in the weeping of the rain; I want him at the shrinking of the tide; The old snows melt from every mountain-side, And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane; But last year’s bitter loving must remain Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide. There are a hundred places where I fear To go,—so with his memory they brim. And entering with relief some quiet place Where never fell his foot or shone his face I say, “There is no memory of him here!” And so stand stricken, so remembering him. From Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Time Does Not Bring Relief” from Collected Poems.