November 22 – Grief – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

If pulled, grief is a thread that will leave us naked in song.

A friend took me to the redwoods, where the trees talk with God, and it was a thick-barked tree five or six hundred years old that made me think Grandma was near. It’s been twelve years since she died, and though no one understands, I carry her behind my left eye where the spirit sees. I leaned into that ancient tree, making small noises. The laurel leaves rustled. The younger trees creaked along with me. I miss her terribly. And though I resist feeling the loss and emptiness of not having her around, when I lean into that grief, it always in aftermath makes everything more vibrant, more real.

I’ve learned that grief can be a slow ache that never seems to stop rising, yet as we grieve, those  we love mysteriously become more and more a part of who we are. In this way, grief is yet another song the heart must sing to open the gate of all there is.

In truth there is a small one who suffers in each of us, an angel trying to grow wings in the dark,  and as this angel learns how to sing, we lose the urge to hide. Indeed, when one heart speaks, all hearts fly. This is what it means to be great—to speak what feels unspeakable and have  it release what waits in us all.


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