It’s been an incredibily difficult month in my neck of the sagebrush. Our small town has endured the loss of two bright and talented young men. Men who had the whole world at their feet and their entire lives ahead of them, gone in a flash. My family spent countless hours on the soccer pitch with both of these individuals and their families. My heart, my soul cries out against such immeasurable loss. I grieve for, and with, the mothers and fathers and siblings left behind.
The fragile feeling that envelopes you after a loss is tangible. Your being is splintered into untold pieces. It is impossible to find and collect all those pieces and re-form who you were before the loss. It is the effort of grief, of a lifetime of healing to form something new, something close to but not an exact replica of the you before. Your new whole is smaller after loss because some of those myriad tiny pieces are gone forever.
Shattered – Julie Gibbons
After a particularly trying day with tears and deep sadness, I retreated to the open. I went off into the sagebrush to feel the sun on my back and the breeze across my face. I went home to earth, to nature. When my resources are depleted I yearn for the earth to infuse and restore my soul.
Heart Mountain, a sacred landmark
Nature soothes my soul as no anti-depressant ever could. Bird song and butterfly wings knit my fragility back into some sense of cohesiveness. I cry, my tears blessing the dry ground with moisture, with salt, with loss and love. I breath deep the sweet scent of sage and clay and release the burden of grief from my spirit. For a moment I am refreshed, centered and whole.
It is just for a moment, but it is enough. It is enough to allow me to continue, to return to the work of listening, of consolation. Of walking with those just embarking on the path of grief. For I have been where they are and there is hope in the journey.
Sunrise over the Absaroka Mountains