In Memoriam


". . . trust depth and darkness,

then flower."

- Bonnie Thurston -

Darkness, anger, and deep, huge sorrow are swirling alongside incomprehensible deaths and violence. As a writer and a human being, I am at a loss for words despite feeling pulled to speak.

Yet I found words to share today, written four years ago in The Book of Calm, when whole paragraphs flowed out to honor "una herida del alma" — a wound of the soul, what we feel below numbness and anger and disbelief.

"Sorrow lives here with its silences and wails, the excruciating suddenness or slowness of someone or something disappearing, and its immensity of loss even as life continues.

For sorrow is a universal language. . . .The ways in which each of us comes to know the shapes and sounds of this language are most often accompanied by disbelief, like being left at the edge of a wilderness without a map or guide, no food or water.

. . . in its terrible wrongness, just how do we speak when we can't explain how we feel, who hears our sobbing and knows what to do, how do we let others know where we are in the wilderness?

We grieve after the death of a family member or friend or stranger. . . . Loss feels like an abyss at the appearance of disease and our body's fragility, the memories of abuse and trauma, the disappearance of home, work, and other symbols of stability . . . the weight of unfathomable emotions . . . there is no prescribed or preferred schedule for sorrow.

. . . To be heard in all our pain is a universal right and need. As listeners to family, friends, and strangers, it is a calling to be ready, able, and willing to hear what is urgently waiting to be mourned and acknowledged . . .

No piece of our self goes missing without it being felt as a dissonance, an emptiness, a pull of the heart or mind or both. In this pulling, we are both the weighty sorrow and the wonder in each day, the place where hearts can open and we connect once again to what is important — to roar about the soul-shaping, difficult work of honoring our life, our ever-changing circumstances, and following the sorrow conversation to where it leads."

The world asks of us

only the strength we have and we give it.

Then it asks for more, and we give it.

- Jane Hirschfeld -

(excerpt from her poem The Weighing)

NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE