Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings

Rising Cairn

1 Comment

The Weight You Carry

It is four weeks to the day that Dan had his fatal accident. A month since he forever left this world – my world. The sadness is still overwhelming at times. There are times I can think and speak about moving forward – and then there are times I stumble, and again, my heart is broken all over again.

Dealing with the loss of a spouse is hard. It is like losing an arm. It is challenging to function with only one arm, especially when it is the stronger arm. Everything takes extra effort to do. I have to remember to do what Dan did, like take the garbage out or check to see how much fuel oil is in the tank.

A nor’easter hit the area, and I am now looking out my dining room window seeing nine inches of snow. Dan would have had the snow cleared from the driveway and back porch by now. He would have done it twice – first, with the little snow, we got on Monday and then again with the large cumulation of snow from last night. He enjoyed using his snowblower, and he enjoyed the snow even though he hated the cold.

Yesterday I stood alone at the window and watched the snowfall – one of the many first as a widow.

It will take time to get through the pain and sorrow of losing my husband – my strong arm. I have never been one to sit around and not do anything. But lately, I have felt like it – the reality is I cannot afford to. I have a mortgage payment to make and bills to pay. I have to find a car. Life goes on. So, in dealing with not having Dan around, I have to think forward. I have to plan how I am going to get through the next year.

There is a part of me that needs to get back in the real world. I want to get back to focusing on my purpose and my passion. I want to and need to use my experience, my education, and the professional status I have earned to move forward in my career. Dan and I worked too hard for me to give up on my vision. I have to take all the strength that God give s me and go on. And when I feel I need a break, I will take it – pause, pray, cry, remember – and then pick up where I left off.

Last week one of my best friends sent me the Mary Oliver poem “Heavy.” It is a poem about death and grieving. Mary’s friend, Daniel, gave the author some advice about the weight she carries.

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had His hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It is not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled—
roses in the wind,
The sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

Rising Cairn

So, you see, it’s not about the weight of the grief it is about how you carry it.

Photo Credit: Celeste Roberge, sculptor and artist – the name of the sculpture is “Rising Cairn.” The sculpture is often mislabeled as the “Weight of Grief.” When Roberge created the sculpture it had nothing to do with grief, however, she does not mind the comparison. For more information on the sculpture, please see the following information: