Monday, December 17, 2012

...out of darkness

This time of year is hard for me, and this year I seem to be noticing it even more. It is not just the hectic holiday energy wearing me down. It is more than that.  I think that all of the darkness we experience this time of year affects me on a visceral level. I really have a hard time when the days are so short that you leave the house in the dark in the morning, and come home in the dark in the evening.  I feel like life is obviously telling me to slow down. I remind myself that my ancestors would have sheltered together, huddled by fires, and probably slept away most of the winter. Instead in our modern world we keep moving at break neck speed regardless that the natural world is telling us to rest. 

Of course this year is especially hard because in addition to the physical darkness, there is unbelievable fact that we lost both of the amazing matriarchs of our family within a month of each other this year.  Though we knew Yia Yia Liz was sick, it is still incredibly hard to accept the fact that she is gone. We are so thankful for the time we had this fall to hold her close and tell her how much we loved her.  We were able to make and share some precious memories in the final days. I find comfort in knowing that she lived a long and beautiful life surrounded by the love of so many members of this community!

A portrait of our amazing Yia Yia Liz.

This is the thoughtful reminder from the beatitude of Matthew 5:4 that was there to greet each choir member (from all three choirs!) when they arrived to sing for Yia Yia's beautiful funeral.  So many people were there to share in the celebration of her life, but at the same time I know we are all mourning the loss of her physical presence in ours. Grief is a strange thing, and I am learning that it affects everyone in a different way.  Right now it seems like an additional layer to the blanket of darkness that is covering us.  I have to remind myself that although our experience this year with loss is extraordinary; the dark days of winter are not. In fact this time of year must be where the origins of hope began.  Though I understand the scientific explanation there is something truly astounding about the solstice that still fills me with wonder.  As the days grow shorter approaching the darkest of the year it seems inevitable that feelings of despondence creep in.  Yet, in the same way that the dark will fill the days of winter, it is also inevitable that slowly the light will return.  I find hope in knowing that the dark days of grief cannot last forever either.

All I have to do is look at my sweet boys to remind me that there is definitely hope in the darkness. Amazingly, when we woke up the morning of her funeral, Ruben decided to sit at the piano and sing us a song! It seemed the perfect way to celebrate Yia Yia Liz ~ with music in the air!  I see a future filled with music for both my boys, and I love knowing that her love of song was passed on to them in the time they got to share with her.

We are truly sad around here. Yet I would be remiss if I made you think we thought these feelings would last forever. Life is constantly changing - I know. Our emotions continue to ebb and flow. Sometimes the brightest moment will be cut with sadness because we wish one of our grandmothers was here to share it. At the same time we are enjoying all the beautiful memories that flood over us unexpectedly, and remind us to reflect on the light that these women were in our lives.  We will continue to follow the trajectory of our orbit - (as a family and as a planet) - and inevitably we will find that we have come out of darkness... into the light.

We are just trying to trust in the process and allow ourselves the time to heal and hope in the meantime!