The hearts of flowers

While I really like to keep this space about the most positive, inspiring, parts of my life I also do always write here with an honesty that I appreciate from others. The affirmation, connection and respect that I have felt for others who share openly, even about difficult topics, on their blogs shows a level of bravery. I believe that this bravery builds connection as we learn that each one of us is not alone, that each one of us in sharing our experiences become more alike than different. It is in this spirit that I want to share something difficult with you here.

This past Tuesday we got the news that a friend of ours died in an accident. This is a friend of ours from our church, a man who is our age, and a husband and a father. I am friends with his wife and I was present at the birth of their daughter as their labor support Doula.

The first few days I was hardly able to think about it, it was easy to stay busy with the kids and push thoughts out of my mind, and then slowly, the reality stared to sneak in. Now, the kids and I are at my parent's home in Philadelphia for a week so I have stepped out of my normal home routine and into a space where I can not and do not want to hide from my thoughts any longer.

One of the things that hits me the most about the loss of this friend is that I experienced one of life's great joys with him, the birth of his daughter. His wife's labor was a long one, and he and I worked as a team supporting her through those long hours. I saw how deeply he cared for her as he patiently and gently massaged her back through each contraction, and I saw the worry and the consternation on his face as he watched her struggling with her labor. We helped each other through that long labor and I watched him be strong for her even when there was fear on his face at times, until finally his wife brought his little daughter into the world. I was standing across from him as the baby emerged and I so clearly remember looking over at him and seeing his eyes glassy with tears and his face absolutely radiant with awe and wonder at seeing his child for the first time.

The stunning glory of that moment.

That is what I am remembering.

This afternoon I was able to finally have some alone time, to wander through my Mother's lush garden where I lost myself in simply taking pictures of her flowers. Somehow that was the best, most soothing thing that I could do. I took pictures of the center, the heart of the flower, using the camera to probe.

Grief is so hard, mysterious, and it feels wide. I have grieved before, and each time I feel that when I start to grieve I am coming back to the same place. The same feelings. The same questions. The same fears. But each time it is different too, each layer of learning is there already, each lesson that came before is like a marker. And yet, even though it feels familiar it feels so rough, so raw.

So that is where I am right now my friends. I am looking into the heart of it.

The heart of it.