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Saturday, February 12, 2011


My mother approached my great-grandmother, decades ago, on the occasion of the death of GG Mapes’ youngest daughter. Mom asked how she dealt with the loss, having buried two husbands and all but one of her seven children. My great-grandmother turned and gave her the oddest look, paused for a long time, then gave some answer appropriate for a minister’s wife—a response meant to sooth Mom’s soul.

I never believed she spoke what was on her heart.

This morning, I recognized her odd look in the mirror.

Thursday, a dear friend died. He was forty-six years old. Recently, you may have lost someone that was also young. Perhaps you just started your grieving of a sudden death, or you like Spyros’ friends and family have held the grief inside since his November cancer diagnosis. Although the quick end came as a blessing for one suffering with immense pain, it did wrench the hearts of those who loved him.

For me, it seemed to be the last gasp of sadness that I could draw in. My mirror reflected that.

Friday at the memorial service, friends will hold hands, hug, cry, celebrate a short life remembered, and part.

I can only accept the truth that this not the final stage of our lives. I will hold Spyros again. For now, I cannot feel sad anymore. Not about Spyros, others we have lost, or my darling’s ongoing suffering—battling diabetes. The joy must be in touch of my husband’s breath on my cheek. The puppy growling in his sleep. The surprise delivery of flowers from a friend.

The blessings in my life are small and powerful—all I need to end the sadness of everyday living. Maybe that was exactly what my great-grandmother said.

God Bless Your Family