august update

I’m trying to keep busy. Our social life has taken off somewhat (well, compared to before anyway) and recently we’ve been getting together with friends and family more, and even went to a wedding yesterday (congratulations Meg and Joe!!!!!!!). A couple of weeks ago I took a four-day class at The Loft about writing the short personal essay, and I have two pieces I’m working on: one about my mother’s rosary and her legacy, and another about my first trip out to Fort Snelling to visit my mom’s grave. It is MUCH harder to write short than to write long! I’ve been journaling quite a bit too, which helps me deal with my grief, a little, although of course it’s not enough.

Last Sunday I finally went to Mass at the Basilica for the first time since mom’s funeral. It was as emotionally wrenching as I had expected, although I’m still glad I went, despite the buckets of tears I wept. Ah well. It wasn’t the first time I’ve cried at Mass, and I imagine it won’t be the last.

And I need to thank everyone who responded to my post earlier this summer, when I was feeling awfully desperate. Your messages of friendship and caring made me feel that I was not alone and were SO comforting; grief is mighty lonely and such a long hard agonizing slog it’s sometimes hard for me to believe I might actually live through it.

There is a poem I can’t stop thinking about that I first read not long after my dad died; it’s even more poignant now that mom is gone too. It captures all my aching loneliness, my anger over what is gone from me forever, my sense of despair and crushing loss. And my broken heart. By Edna St. Vincent Millay, this particular poem keeps reverberating in my mind, day after day:

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind.
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew.
A formula, a phrase remains.–but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love–
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know.
But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave.
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind.
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

My parents on their wedding day in 1963
They are now buried together in the same grave at Fort Snelling National Cemetery

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