"When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses."
~Seamus Heaney, excerpt from Clearances
With the linoleum floor as the backdrop to my shoes and the percussion of small talk, utensils, pots and pans as the soundscape, I remember helping my mom in the kitchen with the family meals.
Yesterday was the my first Thanksgiving since my mother passed. At my mother’s memorial, I heard many versions of that old platitude, “Time heals all wounds.” Experience has taught me that time doesn’t offer a linear healing process so much as a slowly shifting perspective.
She died from suffering. In many ways, my mom and I share similar temperaments. After her death, I worried I was also destined for an unhappy outcome. This is one of the many tricks that grief plays: it makes you think you don’t deserve happiness. Grief makes us better equipped to weather the other life losses that are sure to come and I've weathered a few.
Death is the only universal, and grieving makes beginners out of all of us.
Where to begin . . .