The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote, “Hear blessings drop their blossoms around you.” In the past few days I’ve been hearing blossoms all around. Ironically, it’s happening as I am trying to de-clutter my home office. Never easy, because I’m finding treasured letters, notes, emails…often kept for years. Such kindness comes from friends, family, even strangers I’ve met on book tours…clearly soul gifts. So, I stop and reread these blossoms.
One that stunned me again with its beauty came from Lynn Liebert Caruso, a marvelous poet and published author, who wrote “From Pieces.” The daughter of a close family friend, she grew up with Krista, and saw our hearts shattered at Krista’s death while volunteering in Bolivia. She knew of our trip to Bolivia with Aaron (Krista’s husband) to help him close their one room adobe home in a remote village, and the healing we have found in creating gardens and the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship.
She drew on the image of the ceramic cups that ancient Japanese monks kept as one of their few possessions. It has been told that, centuries later when one of these cups was dropped-shattering to the floor, it was not discarded. Instead, it was repaired with gold solder. The repair made the break more prominent, but also gave the cup a new beauty. Her sensitive gifts with language offer blessings to many.
When the call came that your daughter had died.
That the bus left the road and fell to the valley floor
below. That her husband searched the Bolivian hillside
to find her in the black night. Then walked on alone.
Your cup slipped. Shattered.
When you buried her beside a statue of St. Francis,
beneath stories of love and life lived richly.
When you mourned the daughter you had known
in your womb and feel, again, those first kicks.
When the dogwood bloomed that spring
and you realized great loss lives in the same
house as great love.
You knelt to gather the pieces.
When you traveled to her home in that mountain village,
and hiked to the ravine where she died. When you set
flowers on the scar–carved deep into the earth
by the falling bus and knew this would be a wound
that would always show.
When you knelt where her body
might have lain and wondered what she last saw–
the sky of stars, her husband’s wild eyes, black night?
You worked to match the shards.
When you met the old woman who took your place
to dress your daughter’s broken body.
When you sprayed her mud home for scorpions
and the villagers came weaving their stories of your
daughter’s love for the cooperative,
for the children, for the God of tarantulas.
When you knew that she would choose to live on.
You warmed the gold solder and poured it in the open places.
When you returned home to find the grief was so
deep it held you to your bed and your keen rang on.
When you finally stood and said,
then filled the hillside behind your house with peonies
and cherry trees and found that with your hands
you could make things live.
You held the pieces till the solder cooled.
When you started a library, and a foundation that
sent out others in her name. When you learned that burrowing
into the grief that buried you, there was a spring called love.
And it was deep. And it would never dry up.
And drinking of it gave you life.
You rose and passed the cup.
Poet, Lynn Liebert Caruso
Lynn so beautifully captures the essence of the deep spring of love that lives forever in a parent’s heart.
Thinking of you and hope that Rumi’s image will give you pause to hear all of the blessings given each day whenever you see blossoms fall.
We are back from Asia just in time for the official “launch” of Pilgrimage through Loss at Auntie’s Bookstore tomorrow. I started working on the research and writing for this book over nine years ago, so it’s deeply satisfying to see it finally emerge! We cheered the Seattle Seahawks from a hotel in Bali with an alumni group from the University of Washington….you can imagine how excited these Seattlelites were for this game. This article came out in the Spokane Spokesman Review newspaper on Super Bowl Sunday. A special thanks to Cindy Hval for her sensitive writing!
We observed some very interesting ways in which Balinese people remember their loved ones who have died, and I’ll be including more on rituals from other cultures that appear to help parents live with loss in future blogs
If you live in the Spokane area, please join us at Auntie’s Bookstore at 2:00 on Saturday the 8th for our celebration.