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Image by Kir Simakov
Male Portrait

Moving Over the Face of Water

 

Tell me Waterman, did you stand at the end of the world?

Did you gaze at the dark ocean and sail it all away?

Tell me Waterman, tell me.

Are you out there now, sailing on the winds of the cosmos,

One pontoon raised out of the black water

The rigging tight and the sea hissing?

You are cutting threw eternity, aren't you?

Hiking out on the thrill forever,

Leaning on the warm wet hand of God.

Are you here too Waterman?

Living, laughing in the rivulets running down the driveway singing

Skipping down the drain ditch off

Seeping threw the springing snow out to the creek

And down the river to the mouth?

Rejoicing in the nondecision of it all

Free to be both here and there, both then and now

Are you bursting out like showers Waterman?

You can tell me, I won't grasp you, you are free now

Part of all, and tied to all.

Charlie Smith

(I wrote this when my brother in-law, Paul died, he was a fine man and a sailor.)

Grief Stories is a free virtual resource created to help those who are grieving as well as all those

who support grievers, including family, friends and healthcare professionals. This website offers relevant, evidence-based content including information and insights from real people living with grief, as

well as healthcare professionals with expertise in grief work. The content library currently

includes

● Short videos (over 500)

● Podcast episodes

● Blog posts

● Practical tools people can explore, including music and writing

Moving Over the Face of Water

 

Tell me Waterman, did you stand at the end of the world?

Did you gaze at the dark ocean and sail it all away?

Tell me Waterman, tell me.

Are you out there now, sailing on the winds of the cosmos,

One pontoon raised out of the black water

The rigging tight and the sea hissing?

You are cutting threw eternity, aren't you?

Hiking out on the thrill forever,

Leaning on the warm wet hand of God.

Are you here too Waterman?

Living, laughing in the rivulets running down the driveway singing

Skipping down the drain ditch off

Seeping threw the springing snow out to the creek

And down the river to the mouth?

Rejoicing in the nondecision of it all

Free to be both here and there, both then and now

Are you bursting out like showers Waterman?

You can tell me, I won't grasp you, you are free now

Part of all, and tied to all.

Charlie Smith

(I wrote this when my brother in-law, Paul died, he was a fine man and a sailor.)

Grief Stories is a free virtual resource created to help those who are grieving as well as all those

who support grievers, including family, friends and healthcare professionals. This website offers relevant, evidence-based content including information and insights from real people living with grief, as

well as healthcare professionals with expertise in grief work. The content library currently

includes

● Short videos (over 500)

● Podcast episodes

● Blog posts

● Practical tools people can explore, including music and writing

Moving Over the Face of Water

My Garden of Weeden   

My garden has always been a source of pleasure and plagues: alternating between exhilaration over stunning growth and the satisfaction of a harvest of plenty or all-out frustration with drought and weeds, insects, and disease. But the garden represents more than just a potential ingathering of vegetables and pretty flowers.

 

Cultivated here are fond memories of pea picking with a first grandchild; gathered, and eaten together on the nearby hammock, spent shells tossed in abandon, giggling over the prospect of how they will become lawnmower food. I recall the anticipation of watching grandkids race for pitchfork and shovels to unearth Thanksgiving’s root vegetables, ready for Grandpas cooking pot. Rosy cheeks and dirt encrusted fingernails, knees stained brown, moist earth encompassing smiles full of heartfelt laughter and excitement over the haul of carrots and potatoes. They share the space with Clucky and her sisters as the chickens help till the soil, often wandering into forbidden territory where kale and cabbage are just too tempting to resist.  

 

The garden is where my aging father would eagerly hobble over to, anxious to inspect the size and fruitfulness of my vegetable patch and to sample the freshest produce of the earth. With each season turning, I can easily picture him stooped over the edge of the cucumber patch, poking through vines with the tip of his cane inspecting its early fruit. The fertile dirt where carrots thrive, and tomatoes now spread their vines has missed his shadow for many moons.

 

When I am alone, this is where I spend my time wishing and dreaming, lamenting over what was, what is not and what never again will be. The garden is where I come to remember-- and try to forget. It’s where I wonder how long it will be before my own mother fails to recall who I am as dementia robs us of her life-giving force.

 

The garden is where I didn’t expect to be, when I should have been busy nursing and caring for my newborn baby so many years ago. And the garden is where I first determined to override my daughter’s reluctance and become an informant to her midwife that something was terribly wrong with her second pregnancy. It was here that in overwhelming fear and despair I later clung to her two-year-old and wondered if she would become bereft of her mother, or if our son would live through the process of trying to save his sister.

 

Sometimes the garden receives my grief as I rake my fingers into the dirt, digging deep, and pound my fists against the hard-packed clumps of earth repeating that age-old question of ‘Why?’ It is where I rage against the One who can give life and so quickly take it away, where all the fury inside me rises in questions that have no answers and I feel torn and tossed in the wind. It is where I look to the skies from my knees, for all that is good seems gone. I wonder what the purpose and meaning of life is, when what I have held dear to my heart is no longer mine to hold, and I question the sense in all of this. What is the use of toiling through dry dirt, sifting dust through hardened fingers and clenched fists? How could life germinate here, when mine has been destroyed? How can this garden grow and thrive when my own life has again come to a standstill with the loss of yet another little child?

 

At these times, the garden finds me bent over double, one hand clinging to the dirt of life and the other tightened around a pruning rake clutching at strength that ebbs with each pulsing breath. It’s when I feel I am losing my grip and I succumb to utter and complete panic, intensely fearful I will never survive this latest tragedy come to destroy my reason for living. Breath rises in ragged sobs, a battle ground for air refusing to come in regular rhythm, alternately choking, and spewing out the same in uncontrollable spasms of agony, wild ribbons of grief.

 

And then comes the calm, when I am spent.

 

I raggedly sing the song of the loon, and I weep with the willows. I praise the God of love and life even as I despair at the silence when His voice is still and the heavens seem fashioned of iron, when the beating fists of my heart yield only more silence and more unanswered questions. Still I sing, as through a waterfall of tears my eyes fall upon the flowers unfolding under the brilliant gaze of the sun. I see how the gentle rains kiss the dew sung petals magnifying each color and hue in rhythms of explicit beauty and wonder. And once again, I know, I simply know, He is near.

 

I may only see the upturned roots of the rose bushes after a storm, but He sees what I may seldom rest my eyes upon. Perfection in its finest. His creation as it was meant to be and will be again. He sees the pieces of the garden’s puzzle fitted together in perfectly matched patterns of harmony; blending, yet separate, the tapestry of His work perfected, awaiting His return.

 

And here it is where I must settle the final question of trust in my heart. When that time comes, that I can lay down my burden and let it rest in His arms, then I too will know. I will see it all through His eyes. With a heart of understanding I will fully experience His peace, and all will be beautiful again, as it always has been…

through His eyes.

Connie delaMorandiere

Hands in the Soil
Image by Scott Carroll