Pain Borne for Love

I’ve grieved many times in my life. It’s something we all have in common. Something we will do or have done that reminds us of our humanness and ultimately our connection to the universe and our Creator.

Grief does not change you, Hazel, it reveals you.

John Greene, The Fault in Our Stars

Each time we experience loss, the last thing we want to do is feel the pain. Losing someone we love is devastating. Its finite, at least in this life. But feeling the pain, as overwhelming as it is, is the first step on our journey to acceptance. And acceptance is vital because, whether we want to or not, we have to live on.

I understood then and now, that loss is a part of life, that grief is part of this journey and that the longer I live, the more opportunities grief has to visit me. It’s a funny thing though, no matter how many times you experience it, you’re never really prepared for the next time grief comes knocking. It hits you full-on every time. And maybe that’s the point? Maybe that’s what grief is? A pain borne for love.

Beautiful image by our daughter Nichole Fenwick taken July 4, 2022 | Permission to use

Each loss I’ve experienced in my life, my father, my sweet Nana, my niece, my sister-in-law, my best friend, and most recently, my dear mom, was different. The grief was different. The time between the loss and my acceptance of it was different. The pain was not. It was sharp and biting at first, overwhelming and undeniable. Feeling was all I could do.

That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.

John Greene, The Fault in Our Stars

When my mom passed in August of 2021, I was not prepared for the enormity of the loss. It was different than any I’d experienced up to that point. All at once, I was a little girl again, and the one person I wanted most was no longer there. That little girl, along with the young wife and mother she became, and the woman she is now were all grieving. It was impossible to distinguish one from the other. It was grief unlike any I had ever known. The magnitude of it overwhelmed me. And so I prayed for God’s intervention and His peace. I prayed for acceptance and for guidance in the days, weeks and months ahead, for myself, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, all who were trying to come to terms with the loss of this woman who was such an integral part of our lives and our stories.

And I wrote. I poured out my grief across the pages of my journal. And as He often does, God spoke to me in those moments. He gave me words of comfort and grace. He was there in the darkness of night when I’d awaken and remember. He was there in the morning when I faced yet another day without her. He was there in our parting, just as He had been in our life. And little by little, moment, by moment, I could breathe again. I moved into acceptance. I held tightly to all the memories, all the moments I had with her. I loved her through the grief. I continue to love her in this life. I’ll love her still, in the next one.

Beautiful image by my cousin, Gary Adcock | Permission to use

Grief is a shadow that whispers through our bones.

An ever present absence that remains with us through time.

The unbidden knowing that some goodbyes are fathomless.

Their depths breached slowly at first and then all at once.

In waves we fight for breath and sometimes drown,

holding tight to the only life preservers we have.

Memories and love. 

JN Fenwick (© 2021-2022) | mothjournal14

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

She’s wanted to go home, for awhile now.

Since Dad passed away. 

But I wasn’t ready to let her go. 

None of us were. 

How can you ever be ready to say goodbye,

to the first voice you ever heard?

The first arms to ever hold you?

The hands that dried your tears?

The heart that took your pain as her own?

Gave all of herself to nurture and sustain you?

Who cried when you cried?

Felt every joy,

celebrated every blessing,

and prayed fervently for you?

The one whose love was unconditional 

from the very first moment 

she felt your life within her?

The answer is this, you’ll never be ready.

And it won’t matter how old you are 

when the moment does come.

Not the day or the hour.

Because when it comes,

you’ll become the little child,

you were, unsteady and unsure,

longing with everything you are

for the safety and warmth

of your mother’s loving arms.

JN Fenwick (© 2021-2022) | mothjournal14

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