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Angel of Grief

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lily Rose, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Once upon a time ......

    There was a nobody girl who married into a successful, close-knit family, stealing the only son. Beside the matriarch, stood a tall gentle man who quietly loved that matriarch, but remained on the outside looking in. As did the nobody-girl. They forged a bond during the family gatherings, these two quiet people. The girl became his daughter-in-heart. They remained outside the boisterous sounds of the cluster of grandkids and rapidly talking trio of sisters. The matriarch was always quiet spoken, but the family always oriented around her.

    Years later, the nobody-girl and the only son moved far away to Alaska, creating a gaping hole in the family unit.

    Thus sets the stage. Alaska teaches you to look into your soul. It rips you open, revealing vulnerabilities and strengths. While glittering in faint rainbow colors, it never lets you forget the Winter is always lurking. Even on the warmest days, the taste of glacial air whispers across the skin and tongue.

    The day came when the ringing phone ended with an urgent voice saying the quiet man had suffered a massive heart attack. The voice did not realize my relationship and deep love. It doubled me over. My husband left for California. It was impossible for us both to leave, isolated with two dogs, and a need to keep certain company processes going.

    Thank to the heroic efforts of my California girlfriend, packets of butterflies were delivered to the mourners at the cemetery. The San Francisco weather had broken from fog into sunlight, and those gatherers released the butterflies, their wings felt by my imagination and emotions.

    The following year, I was able to travel south, and my girlfriend took me to the historic cemetery, where my quiet man lay beside his first wife. There was nothing there for me, just grass and a stone plate, meaning nothing.

    It wasn't until we were leaving the grounds, and I cried out - stop! There she was, the most evocative expression of grief that I had ever seen. She was everything. All of my pain encapsulated into a single, simple image.

    That Christmas, my girlfriend bought me the statue. I kept her near, always. I stared at her, I spoke with her, I projected myself into her form.

    At some point, my imagination took me further as I was staring at her. The morning sun slanted low, and my eyes felt sparkles. What if .........?

    What if ... she raised her head. What if ... her face lifted to the dawning?

    I told my husband of the image, and he calmly said that if I find someone who can do it, commission a statue to be created in that vision.

    A decade later, here I am, with crippled finances, and my grieving angel still waiting.

    I teach/lead a group of women various aspects of music. While my own talent is limited, my teaching ability is limitless. I am the catalyst that brought them together, old friends, but learning new things about each other through this music language. Several of them are pottery students of a professional potter, who happens to be my neighbor.

    Yesterday, I asked them about the concept of creating a statue of the angel lifting her head, and they were intrigued. They wish to make the attempt.

    Timing is never coincidental. All things happen as they should, when we are ready.

    I am ready. And so is she, this beautiful, tragic figure. There is beauty in grief, and there is beauty in joy. One cannot be known without the other.

    We all have had, or will have, this moment ... we will have many of these moments. Moments when the sun spreads the rays through the clouds in thin, broad columns of color. Moments when our faces tilt upwards, realizing that the flame inside us is unquenched. Moments where breath flows easier, with less constriction. Moments when the eyes see beyond the visible, and into that uniquely personal place. Moments when we don't just envision the rainbow, but that we are the rainbow.

    When I look upon this Angel, I don't just see her bowed head. I see her potential.

    That is us. Looking into a mirror ... see beyond the surface. See that glorious soul that is our true self.

    with grace and gratitude,
    njoy, Msunn, LindaRK and 1 other person like this.
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a beautiful and profound story, Lily Rose. I pray one of your students astounds you with the likeness of what you've already seen with the eye of faith.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love the story too. The angel with her head uplifted would be great.

    Lily Rose, you live in a beautiful state. It's like an Alaska winter now in the Chicago area.
    But when I look out the front window and see mountains of snow, like in Doctor Zhivago in the Urals,
    I remind myself of the fields of daffodils that came in the spring.
    Msunn likes this.
  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you both ....

    We left Alaska in 2007 to move to the Ranch in order to 'help' my husband's mother. When we left, we left behind so many dreams ... it hurt my husband in ways that may never recover, but we couldn't not go back to California. We weighed the consequences, and knew we couldn't live with ourselves if anything happened to her. We were the only ones in a position to make this move. The sisters simply ... wouldn't. After five years there, and one sister finally moving there ... I couldn't exist anymore in that environment. His mother was supposed to pay him as the Ranch Foreman. Instead, we lost five years of salary, and most of our life savings, as she ... declined ... to pay him.

    Now we live in Oregon, a few miles from my mother. It is her turn to have some family support.

    While living in California, outside the home environment, I became part of a small community and learned extensively about playing music, and working with an elderly population. I had a ladies yoga, and a 'boys' yoga class. The boys were in their 70's and 80's. For those experiences, I am deeply grateful.

    Now I am part of another small community of beautiful souls. Everything ... every single experience ... is part of growing and evolving. While I work on lingering anger, I still would not give up those experiences. Without them, I could not be here .... now.

    with grace and much gratitude,
  5. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Lily Rose, we have walked through a similar situation with both the passing of my mom and my hubby's grandparents and the subsequent nastiness that unfolded. Thankfully, the impact on us was very limited with my mom. On his side of the family, it was the emotional fall out from sister suing brother and all sorts of unpleasantness. My husband made it very, very clear that when the time comes, we aren't interested in one cent of the ranch estate. It is shocking what people will do to one another when fear and greed are reigning over all.

    I hope things with your mom are going okay. Both my parents have been gone for some time now. Hubby's dad has been declining for sometime. I honestly don't think I could do a daughter's duty should my MIL decline. Things sure get interesting!

    I'm grateful for my small circle of close friends who help keep me sane.

    Walt, I love the mention of daffodils. It's a mental picture I keep in my heart when the weather is so bitterly cold snowy. Thank you for the happy reminder.
    For oft, when on my couch I lie

    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils. (From Daffodils by William Wordsworth)
    Lily Rose likes this.
  6. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Beautiful story Lily. You are such a gifted writer. I love your perspective about having the angel raising her head.

    I always think whatever the event, if I'm willing to keep my heart open there's something to learn. And I've seen in my own life how painful events have led to growth.

    I also hope that the angel with the raised head will appear at the right time for you.

    All the best
  7. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    What a lovely story, Lily Rose. The greed of families around death and inheritance is legendary. My husband and I have a story that was slated to end the same ways as yours. After he gave up everything to care for his mom for eight years, she died at 96, leaving almost her entire estate to his older brother who had done nothing more than visit, briefly, two or three times a year. This is the way it had always been in that family, the eldest was the only one who had ever counted. My husband had been ignored and neglected since he was a small child but refused to talk about it to his parents. Luckily, I found a job I enjoyed during the years my husband cared for his mother through several strokes and cancer. It paid enough for us to scrape by but there were nothing left over.

    Just before she died, very peacefully, his mother said "Bless you! Bless you!" to my husband as she lapsed into her final coma. Two years later, his brother sold the large property he had inherited and gave half the money to my husband. I still can hardly believe it. Once in awhile people totally surprise you and once in a great while it is in a good way.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
    North Star likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    njoy, you story is heartwarming to say the least. Your husband's mother finally saw the light in his heart, and so did his brother.

    Greed can be one of the worst sins.

    Becca solved the mystery of the horizontal line in my book text, but thanks anyway. She was able to remove it. Don't know how, but I will ask her.

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