Thursday, December 17, 2009

End of the Year

When I opened this blog, I entitled it Desert Year, not Years.

Did I know, intuitively, that a year would be long enough? Did I hope for some kind of transformation; did I hope that in a year the desert would bloom again?

It's been a good place for me, this blog. Sometimes it's seemed like one long wail ~ against the loss of my beautiful child, against the disappearance of God, against the end of life as I knew it. Sometimes it's been a place in which to digest the trauma of suicide; to come to terms with one of, ironically, life's heaviest and loneliest experiences. Sometimes it's been a place of profoundly moving friendship, as other mothers have generously shared their own sorrows.

But I think it's run its course. I am, surprisingly to me, in a new place, something that's happened in just the last few days. In some ways a harder place ~ I think that I have found my way through an exterior shell of anger and pain and I am going to be left with a deep and pervasive sense of loss. There is not going to be anything to protect me from the reality that my beloved son is truly gone.

A couple of weeks ago I heard a talk by a 60-year-old man, and he mentioned having called his mother over the week-end. Such a casual remark is like a sharp stab into a tender spot for me; when I am 91, there will not be a 60-year-old Josh to give me a call. (Dear God, if I live to be 91, I will have spent 35 years without him, which is ten more than the short 25 we had. I am not hoping for 91.) Those are the moments, and they occur multiple times every day, with which I am going to have to contend without the protective veneer of the past fifteen-plus months.

But God is present to me again, in a way God has not been, and the air has cleared enough for me to recognize that the face of God has been present to me, albeit unrecognized by my grief-stricken heart, in the gifts of my family, of countless friends ~ some of whom I have known for years irl and some for only weeks online, and many in between ~ and most especially through the remarkable men who have persisted as my spiritual directors in incredibly patient and nonintrusive constancy.

I found the following a couple of days ago and posted it on my Advent blog, but I think it serves as a good ending to this one. Of course, total silence is beyond me, and I hope you'll still visit Search the Sea, where the journey will continue, sometimes no doubt loudly, but I think usually quite differently. This blog will stay up for awhile, at least until I decide what I want to do about it.

**********

The 14th century Dominican mystic, John Tauler, explains the gift of Zechariah's silence like this: “God cannot leave things empty; that would be to contradict his own nature and justice. Therefore, you must be silent. Then the Word of this birth can be spoken in you and you will be able to hear him. But be certain of this: if you try to speak then He must be silent. There is no better way of serving the Word than in being silent and listening. So if you come out of yourself completely, God will wholly enter in; to the degree you come out, to that degree will he enter, neither more nor less.”

22 comments:

Presbyterian Gal said...

This year has felt like much longer than a year.

Thanks for sharing yours.

Peace and blessings.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It has been a privilege to share part of this journey with you.

Shalom said...

Thank you for sharing this year.

I hope you will keep this blog available for awhile, as I recently invited a friend whose daughter died by suicide to read it, if and when it feels right for him to do so.

I'm deeply grateful for the words you have brought to this time.

Karen said...

I understand, but I'm sad to say goodbye. Your blog felt like a confessional where I could say what I wanted, and probe some of my darker feelings in relative anonymity. I appreciated all the ways you made me think and feel my own grief, and I hope you have felt my support on your own journey. I hope you leave your blog up because my niece-in-law, whose sister died by suicide, has found it very helpful (I just found this out.)
I am so glad to hear that you have turned a corner and are now able to see/hear God. That is a definite sign of healing and I rejoice for that change. I'll follow your journey on your other blog.
Blessings on you and thank you so very much, dear friend.

Elaine Dent said...

Shalom, shalom. shalom.

Carol said...

So many positive things in this post that it does seem appropriate to moving forward from this blog and out of the desert. Thank you, one more time, for sharing your journey with your readers. Through that, you've certainly taught me numerous lessons. Shalom indeed.

karen gerstenberger said...

I am thankful to have met you here; I will look for you on your other blog.

Your friendship, your honesty, your passion for your son's life, your wrestling with God - and with some of the things that people say to bereaved parents - have all been a balm to this mother's aching heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you. XO

Lisa :-] said...

I'm heartened by your journey, especially the last few weeks, where you truly do seem to have arrived at a different place than you were a year ago.

And I am glad for you that God is present to you again...

:-]

Jodie said...

Why is it that only the faith of the mystics makes any sense to me?

jacobscindyj said...

Inspiration often comes to me in the smallest of actions by another. To consciously and purposefully be willing to face an ending is one of those inspirational human moments.

I'm not "good" with endings. I tend to hang on to things, events, people, whatever. Even when they are uncomfortable and long past their innate time with me.

Such simple words of yours will continue to ring a clear bell in my heart ... thank you.

I know your journey, especially as a mother of Josh, will go on ... and I am grateful to have traveled a small part of that with you.

Peace.

Cindy

Gannet Girl said...

Jodie, maybe it's because our tradition is so word-oriented that we have a deep appreciation for silence?

Michelle said...

Amen. With all that means. Beginnings, endings, assents, struggles....

And the piece about the silence was just what I needed to hear this morning...

Magdalene6127 said...

Dear friend, wherever you go, whatever you do, we will be with you.

Not meant to sound stalker-y. Just meant to sound like love.

romelover said...

Your writings are so truthful and wonderfully open. Please leave your blog up; nowhere else do I find such descriptions of what being a mother means.

I wish you might get this published so it is always available as a resource for those who lose loved ones to death by suicide.

Especially their children.

thank you for your work.

chrissie

Rev SS said...

Yes, thank you, again and again, for the gift of all your writings ... I'll definitely continue to read what you share on Search the Sea

(and I agree, the contents of this Blog would be an excellent book to be shared with others dealing with this kind of loss and supporting those who must journey through this desert)

Rev SS said...

p.s. And I give thanks that you are able to experience God present for you again

RevDrKate said...

gg...thank you to you for your honesty and presence on this blog through this year. Whatever place you are in, or come may to, know that those of us whom you invited to share this journey are there with you (as much as that ever is possible).

Julia said...

thank you for sharing your struggle with us, I truly believe it will help so many others. and I hoped it helped you as well.

YourFireAnt said...

Thanks for this. That quote at the end especially helpful.

Thanks.

Thanks.

T.

Diane said...

yes, it has been a privilege to share with you, and mostly for you to share your year.

blessings.

Daisy said...

(((GG)))) I thought of you (and the other mothers who share here) often during the past month.

Excellent quote.


Mich

Mary Beth said...

Hugs.