|Fantasy Bust of a Veiled Woman (Margeurite Bellanger?)|
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, c. 1865-1870, terracotta
Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Just days after my mother's passing, I traveled to Maine to meet a dear friend and see my daughter perform in a ballet there, and then with only one full day in between trips (barely enough to unpack and pack again), I traveled east again, this time to spend a few days with two friends in D.C.
I struggled mightily with the decision to continue with my plans for these two trips. I had just suffered a significant loss. I was in pain. I wanted to curl up and hide under the covers. I was wrapped in grief.
In fact, when I saw the bust pictured above at the National Gallery a few days ago, I was covered with chills and thought to myself, "That's just how it feels." Veiled. Swathed in yards of heavy sadness. Grief, thy name is Margeurite.
Two weeks ago, I thought these two trips might be inappropriate or ill-adivised. I wasn't sure I could physically go. Could I even find the energy to pack one suitcase? Two seemed impossible. I wondered if I could make it emotionally. Tears come at unexpected times when we're grieving. Would I completely embarrass myself? What if I burst into tears in the middle of the airport? Or worse, in the midst of happy friends?
What I understand now is that there are no accidents. These trips that were planned well in advance of my mother's death had been scheduled at the perfect time with the perfect people in the perfect settings for the purpose of healing. I am in awe, and I am so very grateful for having decided to make these two trips.
They were grace notes in grief's symphony.
[Grace notes are extra notes 'suggested' by the composer (they are indicated in classical works by printing a note that is much smaller than a regular note, sometimes with a slash through the note stem) for extra embellishment, but not necessary for the harmony or melody of a composition.]
They aren't necessary...just rather special and really appreciated.
As I progressed through the last two weeks, the layers of weighty sadness fell away slowly and gently, removed tenderly by family and friends who care for me. The heavy veil was lovingly replaced by a weightless armor of understanding and peace.
If you offered a word of comfort, a hug, an act of kindness, or a smile to me in the last few weeks, know that I heard and saw and felt it. Each act is a grace-filled note in the poignant symphony of grief.
It isn't exactly necessary to the process, but very special and deeply appreciated.
I will share more about these trips, but for today, I want to leave it here...in grace.
May you have added grace notes to your symphony today.
Music today is Mischa Maisky playing the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. Enjoy.