Shrinking world

Papa and Chewy on the beach at Hammond Bay, Lake Huron, Michigan. 2010.

My world feels a whole lot smaller today as my family mourns the loss of my grandfather, my Papa, Jack.  Him gone too soon and me feeling unprepared, the sorrow is deep and overwhelming.  While he lived a long life it was not long enough and, adding to the pain of loss, he left this world just one month after we said goodbye to Chewy.  And, of all of our pets, Papa loved Chewy the most, I think.  He and she were old souls and enjoyed each other’s peaceful presence.

In the midst of great sadness, I find myself feeling a deep sense of gratitude.  My Papa loved me and cared for me just as a devoted father would have.  He laughed with me, spoiled me, taught me, and was proud of me.  In his final moments on this earth, I whispered many things to him including “thank you” over and over again because it felt right.  He was a great man, a challenging man, a strong and noble man.  When my grandma, my Bama, died just over two years ago, he was a lost and hurting man.  And, now, I hope that he is no longer lost, no longer hurting, and feeling only love.

A friend sent me a perfect poem by Maya Angelou yesterday and it says what, at this moment in time, I am unable to.  So I share it with all of you and send another “thank you” out to my grandpa…I love you and hope that Bama’s embrace has soothed you.  Please give our Choo Choo some good ear scratches for us.

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

― Maya Angelou, When Great Trees Fall


6 thoughts on “Shrinking world

  1. Dear, dear friend. What a difficult, difficult end to the year for you and your family. Thinking of you and sending love and hugs. I’m so sorry, love. It’s just too much.

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