Grieving and Growing


 

 

By Neal Lemery

 

The weeks before spring, before the world comes fully awake from its winter slumber, and bursts forth with flowers and growth and new hope for a bright and joyous planet, is a time of contemplation for me. And now is a time for me to grieve, as lately I have lost some good friends.

 

Once again, the world is teaching me, and today’s lessons are about loss and leaving, about life and what we are here for. Like everything else in the School of Life, I don’t have much say in the curriculum or the class schedule. Yet, it is my job to show up and learn the lessons of the day.

 

My friends’ time has come and they have moved on, leaving this world.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but then, I never am. I can rage and scream and cry, but all that is not very productive.  I still feel empty inside, and not really sure I know how to honor their lives.  I look at how their lives have shaped my own, enriching me, and given me tools and ideas from which I can be a better person, and make a bigger difference in the world. There are always lessons to be learned, and ways for me to improve myself.

 

The spaces they filled in my life are empty, though I try to fill that up with something creative, something that will make a difference in this world, as if to make up for what they aren’t doing in the world anymore.  But, that’s a fool’s errand.  I can’t fill in the gaps that they have left in my life, and I can’t duplicate what they did, or would be doing now if they hadn’t died. Each of us is special, unique. I don’t think we are here to be clones of those who have moved on. Each of us has our own work to do here.

 

In my own life, though, I can better my own life, being more of a giver, a teacher, a creator, and a lover of the world.  That’s what my lately departed friends would want too, if they were sitting here having a cup of coffee with me.  They’d be pretty insistent with me, not being people who would cry in their beer, or host a pity party on their untimely and undesired demise.  They wouldn’t want me to be doing that either.

 

“Get on with life,” I can hear several of them say. “You’ve got more work to do. Now, get to it.”

 

Look at what you have taught, what you have created with your hands, and how much love you have spread. That’s the directive I’m getting from the Universe, as I wake to another day, and wonder, once again, what I am here for.

 

It’s not my time yet to go.  So I must go on.  I must spend less time thinking about those tears in my beer, and get out into the world, get a move on.  The departed ones are still with me, in many ways, and I still hear their voices, and their ideas and wisdom.  They were in my life for many reasons, and it is up to me to discover all that they have given me in our all too brief time together on this planet.

 

I have much to learn. The days are getting longer now, and the sunshine is warmer. Spring is coming, and life is renewing. It is time for me to grow, and to love more than I have ever thought possible.

Passing On


 

 

They say life’s a journey and time moves on

And lives end and and now you are gone.

When someone goes, it’s never on my schedule

And I can mourn, I can scream, and

I can cry.

But our lives move on, and my friend has passed.

 

They say your time had come, your work was done

You were letting go, and moving on.

You let me know in many ways that this was goodbye,

And that was fine, this was what would be—

And life goes on, so the well-wishers say.

 

I’m not done with you, I scream in my head

In the darkest of my thoughts, not wanting to know

You are gone, that you have passed, before I was willing

To say good-bye.

 

You are right, I’ll hear you say,

Seeing a spark of light in the darkest of the night —-

The ache remains, the emptiness unrelieved,

Your absence is what I resent.

 

The path you made through life still guides my steps

Your smile, now just a memory—

Your voice still whispers in my ear

When the path gets rough.

You letting me know it will work out,

That I’ll know the way, the path will clear,

You still by my side, you still lighting my way.

 

—Neal Lemery 1/9/2019

To Forget


The list of things to forget
brought me to remember what I’d lost
and not wanted to find ever again–
to pains and ashes and broken hearts
of long ago and yesterday,
all coming back.

To write it down becomes remembrance–
I try mourning again, like the obituary
falling out of the well fingered Bible,
old and tattered, its fluttering downward
bringing fresh tears.

In trying to forget, I remember again
the joys and smiles and songs well sung.
Those notes dull the pain of what
I came here to forget, but
need to remember
again.

—Neal Lemery, 9/2/2013