Category Archives: Grief

The Soul Rests Eternal

“… the landscape that emerges through my music is rather like the misty dawn of a new day; a day not yet ripened by the sun, but one that shows the promise of a warmer future – a way through the emotional morass.”

Take the time to read the delightful new interview in the Salon du Muse at the Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey, web mistress of Soul Food, takes the time to interview British composer, Mike Sheppard. This interview explores spirit and soul and shines some light on the path for those suffering from bereavement.

A Solitary Raven

For many of the indigenous people of the Americas, the raven is a powerful animal totem, a protector and spirit guide. He’s a shape- shifter and messenger and a symbol of transformation. Its coal black plumage invokes the void, secrecy, and mystery. But the raven is also a solar symbol. The mythical raven brought the Sun to mankind, and in so doing became a symbol of light. From the earliest times, raven myths tell of its intelligence and concern for humans.

Some people believe that ravens guide travelers to their destinations. Others believe that the sight of a solitary raven is considered good luck, while a group of ravens predicts trouble ahead, and a raven right before battle promises victory.

All I know is that loving Ravens, drawing, posting each day – is palliating grief and a sense of aloneness.

My Old Dog Is Dead

“And now my old dog is dead, and another I had after him, and my parents are dead, and that first world, that old house, is sold and lost, and the books I gathered there lost, or sold- but more books bought, and in another place, board by board and stone by stone, like a house, a true life built, and all because I was steadfast about one or two things: loving foxes, and poems, the blank piece of paper, and my own energy- and mostly the shimmering shoulders of the world that shrug carelessly over the fate of any individual that they may, the better, keep the Niles and Amazons flowing.”
— Mary Oliver (Blue Pastures)

Jaari and Douglas

Old dogs lie buried in the garden here, a place where, in another lifetime, my husband, children, companion animals and I once lived, where my parents once came to share our lives and bear witness.

Dougie and I grieved for each one who departed; when we sold and left the only home he had known behind.

We moved to a sheltered place and comforted one another.

Now my old dog is dead too. I know! I held him close to my heart as he died.

Dougie is gone, joining those, so many whose hands/paws we held, watched as they went.

Soon I will be leaving this place that offered safe harbor, taking his ashes to mix with the ashes of others.

I am moving to make yet another fresh start, selling more, giving away more, but, taking memories of happy family days to weave and wrap around me.

I will go to another place where I will scatter mixed ashes and, little by little, piece by piece, rebuild.

Demeter and Persephone

Crumpled, prostrated by loss
amid fallow fields hardened with ice
I lay in a cold stone shell
Wasting
Until she came riding upon Ebony wings

May I say that
as she cocked her head and cawed joyfully
Danced cheekily, laughing with me
I felt a life force
Felt the void filling, the world greening

The original story of Demeter and Persephone centres on Demeter’s loss of her daughter Persephone to Hades, the King of the Underworld. Demeter in her abject maternal grief and anger plunges the world into everlasting winter until her daughter is returned to her for part of the calendar year by Hades after pressure from other Gods.

When Persephone returns from the place of the dead it seems that she comes to rescue her mother.

In this case the writer is rescued from the abject nullity of grief by her mother’s fleeting return. Her mother’s appearance, in the shape of a raven, is, given their shared love for these creatures in the last part of her life, a clear sign.

The writer is gently reminded by the exuberant bird to pull herself together, to come out of hiding, to stop withholding from self and do what she loves.

The loss of a uniquely beloved figure has the power to consign us to an emotional wilderness where creativity cannot flourish.

Worse, memory can make us mad. We cannot escape the dead’s monumental significance for us once they are gone. Death has a way of showing just how much a person mattered. It also forces us to see how we kept so much to ourselves, how we refused to share some things with them. Now that they are gone all seems exposed. It feels like they are now privy to all our thoughts, seem to know everything about us, everything we kept from them.

Seeing them in another form someone cleans the slate and enables new beginnings, a chance to make amends.