Monday, July 31, 2017


That is the word a friend used to aptly describe her response to losing her elderly mother: stunned, like by a bee that at first pricks and burns you, the sting of death soon numbs and even renders unconscious.

From the old French estoner, astonished... stoned!... it's hard to think or even breathe. Stunned.  An anaphylactic reaction to unprotected death.

They talk about the stages of grief, healing and "acceptance"; yet there is no recovery of how things used to be.  It is more like a gradual coming to (if you come to at all, because some never do); waking up to life with missing parts. You're "in shock", they say, as though you are missing something.  But, really, it is a new normal.

We think of grief as a chapter in life, as though loss were a moment on the continuum of something greater, but birth and death both dissolve in a mystery somewhere in the heart of that numbing, dumbing, stunning fact "your mother is dead".  That is the unavoidable truth.

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