Two years ago today my youngest brother, Jeremy, died. I wrote this poem last year on the 1 year anniversary of his death. Thought I’d share it again today as my body aches with missing. ~ Melissa Mains Timberlake
I PLACED A STONE
I placed a stone on my brother’s grave today
One year ago, I said my heart-wrenching last goodbye
And now, here I am,
alone in the cemetery
on this cold, dark, rainy November morning
To pause, remember and simply be
With the powerful waves of grief
That still surprise and topple
I placed a stone on my brother’s grave
As an offering to let others know
I was here
And, I won’t forget
When I picked up the stone and held it in my hand
It made an impression
Reminding me that I am continually moved by my brother
By his gusto, his compassion, his laughter, his faith, his voice, the sparkle in his eyes, his abundant love for others, his joy, and his purpose
When I put the stone down
on Jeremy’s grave
I knew that although he is not physically with me
The handprint of his life is on my heart
That, as a stone lasts throughout time, so does my love for him
I placed a stone on my brother’s grave today
And as I gather myself to leave
Taking a deep breath
I suppose that often, in life,
it’s the smallest things
the placing of even the tiniest “pebbles”
(an empathetic look, a hug that doesn’t let go first, those unrushed moments shared over cups of coffee, a listening ear, a thoughtful text or phone call…)
that become profound markers
to also communicate
I’ve been there
You’re not alone
I won’t forget
So I placed a stone on my brother’s grave today
As I leave, I pick up another
And put it in my pocket
To share with someone else
–I Placed A Stone by Melissa Mains Timberlake
This morning, as a I scrolled through Facebook, I came across this post. It stopped me in my tracks. It seems so many are experiencing death and learning how to “carry on”. Deep gratitude to Melissa Mains Timberlake for allowing me to share this for “Yes-vember” The Poet’s Way. Her way of honoring herself and her brother is a beautiful acknowledgement of life and death. She shows us a way to grieve. She shows us it is okay to be grieving. And living. To carry a stone. A weight. A connection.
Melissa lives The Poet’s Way – Authentic. Creative. Expressive. She is a talented writer, coach, mother, wife and a wacky-serene friend. If you are fortunate to live near Turtle Creek Acres in McHenry IL, please join on December 3rd or 5th Advent Retreat of Silence. “Let us be silent, so that we may hear the whispers of God.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some things in life cannot be fixed.
They can only be carried.
“When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.
Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words:
‘I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you.'” From Tim Lawrence’s “Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason”
I came across this blog a few weeks ago. It strips away the platitudes and the “get over it” motivation malarky and instead provides a truthful, open-hearted, vulnerable and courageous way to live with pain and death.
Some thoughts for the living for living The Poet’s Way:
Start Authentically: There is pain. There is dying. It is part of the fabric of your life. What is woven in gives your strength and makes you vulnerable. How can you hold yourself open and be with with the pain?How can you respect those that have passed? How do you respect your own journey and yourself as you Live? What is true for you.
Explore Creatively: Your response. Your choices. Your way of holding belief, hope, honor, gratitude, servitude – they are for you to create. Do create. From the pain. From the learning. From the authentic place of truth and love, create your way of doing and being. Please don’t stop creating.
Live Expressively: Carry it. Yes, there will be burden. Yes, it is not as you would have liked. Yes, it is out of your control. Your response and your presence are needed. Show yourself. Show us. How to live an expressive life with the richer texture and pattern of the life you know. Do not negate your feelings. Do not silence your voice. Do not “get over it”. Embrace it and stand with it. We acknowledge your pain. We are here for you. You are appreciated. You are loved.
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