Friday, February 4, 2011

Heeding the Messenger

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love." - Washington Irving

Après la Faute - Jean Bèraud, c.1885, oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

My heart is not smiling today. In fact, it's aching terribly for a dear friend who suffered a great loss yesterday. To pretend otherwise would be dishonest and disloyal. And yet I want to share my thoughts. I hope you understand.

To know that a friend is grieving is difficult enough, but when distance separates us at a time like this, it's wrenching. The truth of it is that there is not much one can really do but offer a warm hug, an arm around a shoulder, or a look of understanding, but we want to be there all the same.

Compassion rises up in us at times like this and we long to gather together to protect those that are hurting and DO something. If we were together--my friend and I, and all our mutual friends--we would cook. We would cook a lot of great, hot, comforting food. We would then gather at a huge table to break bread and raise a toast to the departed.  We'd reminisce, and laugh and sing and dance...and cry. Together.

Some of us gathered virtually last night to do just that. It was impromptu, and loving, and even fun. We drank martinis and wine, and toasted life, toasted our friendships, and toasted the dearly departed. Knowing that our friend was with family during this time of crisis was comforting, but I was comforted that much more by knowing that some of us had gathered together around our big virtual table to share our grief and our love for one another, too .

I have shed my sacred tears, and expect more to come, because, as Irving said, they are not a mark of weakness. They are the messengers of power...the power of unspeakable love and the power of overwhelming grief. They say we love and feel and hurt. They say we're human.

And though I cannot yet reach out to my dear friend with a warm hug, an arm around a shoulder, or a look of understanding, I know it doesn't really matter. We're together anyway.

Today, L'chaim!

"I know that the arms of friendship are long enough to reach from the one end of the world to the other" -  Michel de Montaigne

The following music is and excerpt of "Requiem" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This section is called the "Lacrimosa" which means "Tearful."


  1. Good morning Jo! Beautiful post this morning. I found myself restless all night and each time I awoke I couldn't help but think of Dubby.

    I'm sure our thoughts are a form of pure energy that find their way to the ones that need them most.

    I'll be sending loving thoughts your way as well chica.

  2. This is so beautiful, Jo. L'chaim indeed.

    Tears are magic, they are so healing. Physiologically they carry toxins out of the body. In fairy tales, they heal broken hearts, bring sight back to blind eyes - oh man, tears are precious and important.

    Linda I love your comment here and the things you said on Facebook yesterday.

    I'm missing both of you terribly today. Much love and many tiny hearts headed in your directions.

  3. No words necessary....just love and friendship and a bunch of tiny hearts too...

  4. How absolutely perfect to hear from the three of you together this morning. I'll forgive Nancy, since she should be asleep still in CA. :-)

    Your comments are wonderful...thanks so much for adding those thoughts for me today.

    They may not be able to reach around the world, but my arms are long enough to reach across the country to give you each a warm embrace.

    much love,

  5. See..I had to check here before going on my morning walk. I too woke up throughout the night thinking of the grief he and his family are going through. I also kept thinking of the precious stories we shared - memories from Linda and Reya - I love traveling down the branches to the core of a person and 'knowing' what they survived, or how they became special to everyone. I also absolutely love the 'space' we have here to grieve together. This is a beautiful post Jo - thanks! <3

  6. Thank you, Nancy...the circle is complete.

    I love the metaphor of the person's life as a tree. I guess though we've all branched out across the country, our roots will always be in Missouri. I love that.

    So glad that you checked in before your walk, Nancy. much love.

  7. Jo, I am not part of this circle but your words were beautiful. I have a dear friend who will soon be going through a loss and I know I can't be there to be with her, now or when the time comes. But I think she knows my arms are reaching for her. Thank you for the lovely and thoughtful post.

  8. Thank you, Delana,Your comments are most welcome today.

    We are all part of the circle, yes? You may not know our mutual friend, but we all know the pain of loss. The circle includes us all, really, doesn't it? Life and Loss are the yin and yang of being...universal.

    When the time comes, your friend will feel the consolation of your embrace, I'm sure.

  9. beautiful and thoughtful post...a toast to your friend and to love and friendship that endures even death...take care.

  10. I'll drink to that, jojo.

    I think it all endures even death. At least I hope so.

    Many thanks for dropping by...I'm very glad to hear from you!


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