Sunday, August 9, 2009


I have a heavy heart. I wish that was a self-deprecating fat joke, but it isn't. I've been thinking for a little while now, off and on, about all the pain there is in the world and about how, for whatever reason, God lets us feel it.

A friend of mine lost his baby girl last week. Just a couple of weeks away from her due date, his wife was in an accident and their baby died. She is their first child. I've thought so many times this week about the stages of grief, about where they are in the process right now. Another friend learned this week that in a matter of months she will lose her mom to cancer. She, too, is just beginning the process.

There is no part of grief that feels good, but I remember the awfulness of those early days and weeks and months so clearly. I remember being shocked to discover that the pain of losing a loved one is actually a physical pain. It settles right in the cavity of the chest where the heart once was and seems to penetrate deeper and deeper into the soul with every inward breath. It is an almost constant companion, an appendage like an arm or a leg, only it has no life of its own. It exists like a parasite to its host.

I think it's human nature to look for the hidden meaning in things, the lesson to be learned. I've decided that I don't think there always is one. Some things just are. Unless the meaning to be had or the lesson to be learned is just to find peace in suffering.

I have a pristine refrigerator. Bold statement, no? I'm talking strictly about the outside of it, not so much the inside. I used to love refrigerator magnets. The quirkier the better, and if I could write poetry with them, that was all the better. But as my life has become more complicated, my fridge has become less so. Only two magnets have survived my discriminating cut-backs over the years, and even those are tucked around the side. One is inconsequential for this post, but the other says this:

peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.


Kristin Coppee said...

I love this post. That last statement is so true. I have never known the grief you and many others have known. I can't even imagine. But I have to say, some very beautiful and inspiring posts have come out of you that I will tuck away and keep with me forever.

mbunker said...

Brenda... wow. You never cease to amaze me. I love that saying. Isn't that what we all strive to feel is that peace? You always help me learn and grow.... miss you!

Brooke said...

That is a great saying. I am sure your friends will rely on you a lot as they go through their struggles. How lucky they are to have a friend like you.

Mom said...

So well spoken(written). I am sorry you are in the midst of such a time as you write about. But before this you would likely not even have thought much about the topics you write about so beautifully now. Nor taken the time to share them. Love you.

Mel Newton said...

I cant imagine the reality of so much loss. I think about growing old and ignoring the fact that i will loose my friends, family and even my lover. The only Peace i have felt in my loss is that somewhere deep down that pain that has attached itself to me represents the moments that i had with that person and can have no more. I feel more human in loss, it reminds me that I truly had something special. What an amazing moment.....i know its cliche, but to morn is a reminder that one has loved. If i cant find peace in in the rolodex of special moments in my mind...then maybe i can find it in the bottom of a gallon of Bryers chocolate.

Mel Newton said...

You have such a way with words, I haven't visited lately, but when I do you either having me laughing, crying, self reflecting and normally all 3. Maybe you should write a book, maybe thoughts and short stories.