A shadow of light.

photo 1Loss can cast some strange shadows across your days. Sometimes dark and engulfing, other times a sharp sliver of illumination. Gone if you’re not paying attention.

This morning, as I sat drinking my coffee, I noticed the speckled light moving across the room. It landed on a porcelain bear that my husband had picked up at a garage sale, and cast an amazing shadow. A strong, angular bear, chiseled out of the ice on which it’s standing. A bear that looks a lot like the tattoo my husband had on his arm. A piece of art that I will never see again.

I continued to think about shadows as I walked out into the beautiful morning. We used to laugh at my old dog’s shadow because we thought her shadow looked like an ant-eater. My new pup, her shadow looks like some kind of mythical wolf. Fierce and fangy. I looked over at my shadow this morning, too. A long, lonely alliteration.

We are our shadow selves, are we not?I’ve also been thinking about the healing beauty of nature. And how, right now, that beauty hurts. It hurts to walk through the woods alone. It hurts to see the changing palette of the prairie. I don’t want to enjoy the arrival of the birds. I don’t want to enjoy this sharp fresh morning. I want spring to stay in the shadowland, I want spring to stay in stasis, trying to avoid the inevitable, like I am.

These are the shadows that you don’t expect. Softly settling in, a dark sad mist where there once was light.

But I know it will shift again. It just did. This morning, in the shadows, it became clear.

My beautiful bear is lumbering away, the shadow of a beast, the shadow of a life…I can’t keep his ashes contained forever. in a house. in a container. inside. I will need to let him go. Back to nature, where he belongs.

6 thoughts on “A shadow of light.

  1. It all feels like one big shadow to me now. I feel like I’m faking it, faking that any of my daily routine means anything. I’ve been hibernating indoors. Ignoring spring. Yes, your words resonate with me.

    Back to nature where he belongs. When we returned my dad and oldest brother to nature in November, in the Gulf of Mexico, it felt so right. And healing.

    • Thank you for sharing about your dad and older brother. I’m so sorry that you are are back in the middle of intense grief, and loss…it’s so hard, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other. My mom and I both used to say, fake it ’til we make it. I think it does kind of work, but still, it sucks!

      • Three losses in 11 months is rough. All the male members of my family gone. Yes, it does suck. I hope you don’t stop writing. Somehow, connecting helps so much. I look forward to your posts. So eloquent. And raw. You help me connect with my grief. And stop stuffing it. Reading your posts, I realize I will not drown if I allow myself to feel it.

  2. I left my husband’s ashes in so many places that I felt like Johnny Appleseed. I agree with the comment above about it feeling right and being a healing thing to return them to nature. I did keep enough to fill a little 3″ high urn made for that purpose and it sits in its velvet box in the living room.

    “Fake it until you make it” is a good coping tool to use. We can’t wear our hearts on our sleeves 24/7. Grief is often too private to share with the world like that.

  3. i hope you continue and eventually publish your posts as a book of essays. You are an amazing writer and touch a cord with those of us going through the same in a way you cannot imagine. Eloquent and powerful and raw and so very true. I know your anniversary is soon. Peace.

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