Sorrow and loss

This morning I was looking through some of my old writings, and I came across a poem I wrote a few years ago. I love poetry but don’t write it often. Not suprisingly, this poem encompasses a couple of themes that seem to have made themselves the center of my heart’s work over the years, which are loss and grief.

The door closes behind me,
Untouched by human hands,
it is closed by a breath,
a sigh.
On the other side, you sit.
Did you even hear it,
that soft click of the lock?
Would you care?
I can hear your laugh,
distant now.
In my mind I can see your face,
your eyes, your nose,
the soft curve of your lips
as you smile.
And I almost turn back.
My hand reaches for the door handle,
but doesn’t touch it.
Instead, I walk away,
down the steps,
onto the path,
to the road,
where love ends
and my journey begins. 

This poem expresses the feeling I have of loss, and one of the things that strikes me is that when you lose someone, it’s not just their presence, but also all the small things about the person that you miss. But the most important thing here is just the simple hope expressed at the end, and that is that we have got to consider all the endings and sorrows we experience in life to be steps along the path, that as we turn away from something we are inevitably turning towards something else. We need to hold that truth in our hearts because in the midst of the sorrow and loss and devastation, we have to realize that we are becoming who we are meant to be, and we are going to where we are meant to go.  Knowing that, we can find hope in the middle of despair, and a light in the middle of the darkness. We can find strength when we just want to lay down and die because we know it is not meaningless. Sorrow and loss drive us within, to the depths of our hearts and souls we barely knew existed, but in those places we are also drive to reach higher than we ever have before just in order to escape.  Sorrow also brings out our creativity. For myself, I find that the grief builds up inside to the point where I just have to let it out, and for me it comes out in writing. For others it comes out in art or music. For still others, they are able to reach inside to this deep part of themselves to inspire great acting or performing. 

While he was in jail, Oscar Wilde wrote his De Profundis, in which he said, “Prosperity, pleasure, and success may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things…. Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realize what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do.” 

Sorrow is a great teacher. It touches every part of us. We can’t forget the value of Joy either, though. We can’t become so enamored of sorrow and those great depths to which it takes us that our creativity dries up when we are blessed with happiness. Oscar Wilde also wrote, “Sorrow is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.”  Once sorrow has touched us, Love and Joy are never quite the same either. We aren’t likely to enter into them as lightly, because we know their ultimate cost.  We know their real meaning, and must continue to express it.  We must continue to move forward, to grow and evolve. Perhaps if we can learn to do this through love and joy, sorrow will not have to make such frequent appearances in our life, because it will not be necessary to prod us into moving towards our destinations, our destiny.

8 thoughts on “Sorrow and loss

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  1. That was very deep sharon.One thing I thing I have been meaning to tell you for some days is that I think deciding to have your last child was the bravest decision you could take, having experienced the loss you went through with michaela. I'm glad it worked out so well for you.But how did you find the courage? The thing is I have recently become an aunty to 2 children I love so dearly, and the thought of anything happening to them shakes me to the core, yet the more I try not to think about it the more these terrible thougts keep coming into my mind, to the point where I am so over protective of them (even more then thier own parents!!) and I am constantly praying for thier safety and protection.My point is, with this attitude, how will I ever have the courage to be a mother? Even though its something I want more than anything in this world, I can't imagine not having children but when I do, I will live my whole life in constant fear for them and if anything was to happen to them (God forbid) it would literally just kill me, I couldn't take that kind of pain, just knowing the pain you have experienced makes my heart literally ache for you and all the parents of lost, hurt children. Perhaps I'm just a weaker person or maybe everybody has these feelings.


  2. Sophie, I understand what you are saying. Whenever you choose to love you are choosing to accept the possibility of loss at some point. That is part of what makes love so valuable! But it is worth it! If you never love, you have lost to begin with.As for the fear, it took me a long time to figure out that me being afraid didn't do anything to keep my children safe. In fact, sometimes it could endanger them. When they first started driving I would call and text them constantly when they were out, just to make sure they were okay, until I figured out that I was placing my peace of mind above their safety by forcing them to keep answering my calls. So I somehow stopped, and when I did that, I gradually became able to really and truly assume that everyone is okay.Being fearful I think also endangers the kids in that it makes it difficult for us to hear that voice of warning when there may be actual danger present. On the morning when Michaela went to the market, I didn't want to let her go. I remember actually scanning the route she would take looking for the source of danger I felt. In the end, I let her go because it just wasn't that unusual for me to be afraid for her. If I had learned to NOT live in fear, perhaps I would have been able to pay attention and perhaps it would have kept her safe. So now, again, I try not to live in fear.As for being brave enough to have another child — well, I didn't get pregnant on purpose. And believe me, the process of being pregnant, of opening myself up to love another person so totally, really tore open the floodgates within me. Ultimately, of course, that was healing. Healing can be very painful — like having surgery when something in your body isn't working! Or a root canal! But this is what life is sometimes. And it is how we continue living, continue growing, continue evolving. We ultimately have to believe that life is not without purpose, and that purpose is Good, even when we cannot see how that possibly could be. One day, perhaps we will understand, but in the meantime, we just have to have faith. I have thought about how different my life would have been if I had not had children. I don't know that I ever could have made that choice, though. My desire for them was just too strong. And even though it has been the most painful thing I have experienced, it has also been the most joyful, and (for better or worse) I would never have become the person I am and might yet be if I had not chosen to open my heart in this way.


  3. Thank you for sharing Sharon! These are the best descriptions of love and fear I have ever encountered. I can definitely relate to living in fear – and I agree, it is hindering more than helping.Diana


  4. Thank you for your reply Sharon, and thats a very valid point about your fear not helping your children, and how constantly living in fear makes it difficult to understand the voice of danger- I've never thought about it like that before.I'm sure that your last pregnancy must have been an emotional rollcoaster for you- I've recently seen the toll any normal pregnancy can take on a woman and your circumstances were on a totally other level. But obviously she was worth it in the end for you.I guess it comes down to something I've heard you mention before, that the 9 almost 10 years you got to spend with Michaela was worth the pain you've had to endure when she was taken, and if you had the chance to take away the pain by going back in time and never having Michaela you wouldn't. Taking this from you- a person who has seen the true dark side of love and the pain it can give you and still say its worth it- then it really must be something. Of course I have only had an inkling of that love so far- but I can't wait to experience the depth of it when I become a mother one day hopefully (you can probably tell I am feeling very broody at the moment!). Thank you for opening your heart to me.Soph…x


  5. very meaningul and deep writing about sorrow, love, fear, and joy-especially about sorrow. Raises many questions. Can not imagine going through the kind of loss you experienced, Sharon. Your evolution has created a helpful and dynamic resource about soul and spirit, and a great deal about emotions and families, and parenting.butterfly


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