Sunday, February 15, 2009


Wayne has three friends who have recently suffered the deaths of young adult sons. I am one of those friends. He asked about the next one: should he share this blog with her? I told him to go ahead, but that he might want to mention it again in a few months, as she will probably remember little of what he says right now.

I leave out a lot, of course. This is only a little blog, and I write because writing is one way that I process things. But I don't want to scare people with the fierceness of grief. Someone commented on
Kat's blog recently that she has never experienced a major loss. Oh, I thought to myself, she lives in such a different universe. When she sees the moon, or the sun, or a dragonfly, it looks completely different to her than it does to me.

I had known that before. My brother and I talked the other day about how our basic orientation, formed as the small survivors of the automobile accident that took the lives of others, is toward a universe of chaos and treachery. But the last months have been a reminder of just how much courage one needs to muster for the daily encounter.

I am rather musterless. I cannot listen to Vivaldi anymore. I tried Tschiakovsky's Fifth Symphony the other day ~ that's gone, too. At least as I used to understand it.

But (rousing myself again), I did think, after Wayne posted about the most recent death in his circle of friends, that I might share this. This has helped. A Jesuit friend sent me a bookmark a couple of weeks ago. The sculpture is The Creation of Adam, from the north portal of Chartres Cathedral (which he knows to be my favorite place). Think of your son resting on the knees of a loving God, he wrote. Another Jesuit looked at it and said, And you can also think of God re-creating your son. Yes, I said, that occurred to me, too.

You do not have to see it as the re-creation of a young man. You might see instead the re-creation of a young woman, or a baby girl, or a mother or a husband or a sister or an older parent ~ all of them represented by the links on my sidebar.

I don't know whether it helps. I don't pretend to know what might. But to does seem to me that the gentle caress of a loving and infinitely creative and hopeful God is a possible response to the chaos that threatens to engulf us. And so: the Chartres portrait, sculpted by an unknown artist 740 years ago. It's what I have to offer today.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, GG. You got me right in the heart again; but it's a good thing.


Gal aka SuperMommy said...

Beautiful... a comforting image, the idea of those we have lost being held in God's fold.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

That is a beautiful offering.

lisaram said...

You know I don't believe in God in the Christian sense, but I do believe in the continuation of the spirit. Even when my cat died, I thought of it in terms of her spirit laying aside a broken, old body and moving on to the next incarnation. It does help to believe this...

Jennifer said...

I so appreciate the room you give each person to grieve in a way that makes sense to them.
That's a great learning for each of us.