Grief music

A friend is dying and I am sweeping the garage.
I am repairing the upper rack in the dishwasher
and he’s being detached from life support.
I am shopping, in the produce section,
looking for good organic baby spinach
and remembering to get shallots
and his family are gathered around
in that strange camaraderie of abysmal love and loneliness.
I am strangely here.
Life goes on, he has died, life is going on.

Loss is not an object we encounter, but a landscape.
The presence of an absence that haunts without leaving.
Grief is not a thing we have,
like a stone in your pocket, or a boil;
it’s music deep within us and around us,
music of love in the key of longing,
and sometimes we can’t help but sing along,
full throated, heads tipped back,
because it’s all we hear, and at times
we just hum the tune while we go on with life.
But the music doesn’t stop, beautiful and sad and grateful,
and it makes us dance, even if wee just sway a bit—
and always, just beyond our hearing,
God singing with us.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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