Strains of “In the Bleak Midwinter” have been accompanying me on my wintertime walks. Yet “bleak” is the last word I would use to describe these glorious winter days. The sparkling snow, dazzling sunshine, and deep blue of the sky against white birch branches offer solace to my soul. Still, the carol rings true, for in this midwinter, bleakness – a sense of desolation, loss, and despair — shrouds the land. Many dear to me have suffered tragic losses – of brothers, mothers, sisters, children, friends, partners and spouses – to cancer, suicide, alcohol, a hit-and-run driver, injury from a fall, dementia, sudden death, and sheer despair. An aggrieved world spins out tendrils of affiliated losses — of community and country, safety and security, watersheds and wild places, touch and tenderness and trust; family and faith — whether in god or humanity or the future. Thousands have lost the tangibles of jobs, shelter, savings, and physical capacity, and millions more the intangibles of dreams deferred, hopes for a nation, and belief in the basic decency of our fellow humans. And then there are the ordinary, everyday losses. As a friend recently posted, “I am grieving. I miss Sunday breakfasts at the cafe. Live music. Dinner parties. I miss seeing people smile in the grocery aisle.”[i] We are all suffering utter and ongoing loss.
Continue reading “Mirroring Loss, Part 1 by Elizabeth Ann Bartlett”