Monday, January 30, 2012

Grief in a Jar

Grief in a Jar
By Jenn Widener - April’s mommy

For many years, I kept my grief in a jar high
upon a shelf. All the secret pain, anger, bitterness
and fear were kept inside my jar. I would never
let it out. I would take it down and dust if off
occasionally, making sure the lid was still tight.
Periodically, I would add little bits to it, (it had
a one-way valve, bits could go in, but nothing
could come out). I would add pain from lost
dreams, missed birthdays and shopping trips,
absent first days of school, sibling quarrels and
bedtime stories. As the years went by, my jar
remained on the shelf. I checked on it from time
to time, clenched my teeth, pulled my hand back
and moved away. “Not now,” I would think,
“I’m too busy.”

One day my jar came crashing down. I was not
prepared. “Hurry! HURRY! Clean it up! Don’t
let it touch me!” I panicked. However, the more
I tried, the more it spread. I was soon sitting
in the middle of the floor, surrounded by the
accumulated years of repressed grief. Pieces
of the jar lay shattered all around me. People
walked by, observing me in this state, shaking
their heads. “Not over it yet?” they’d say. “Get
a grip.” I was lost in my mess.

Then suddenly, I felt the gentle presence of
others around me. I looked up to see these new
friends with smudges on their faces. Others who
bore the smudges of dirt I was now covered in!
THEY KNEW! They knew grief like mine, yet,
were not obliterated by it. Not consumed. They
showed me how to clean up the shattered pieces
of my jar. They helped me pick up the shards of
glass one by one. It was not an easy clean up.
It was painful. They showed me a way to turn
the piercing sharpness of my
grief into something else.
Sixteen years after the death
of my child, my grief is still
with me. No longer bottled
up in a jar, it now exists in a
beautiful pot. It holds a flower
that attracts butterflies. To
me, butterflies are a symbol
of hope. Hope grows from my
grief. Hope that one day I will
see my baby girl again. Hope
that I can give her a voice and
hope that together, we can
make a difference.