Tag Archives: mourning

in mourning (troiku)

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laying to rest
near the weeping willows
flowers for Mother

laying to rest
assortment of colours
adorn her domain

near the weeping willows
coming to life again
this spring day

flowers for Mother
Sunday’s best
this morning

© Tournesol ’16/04/25

NaPoWriMo Day 25

Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille at MindLoveMiserysMenagerie

on ice (tanka – haiku)

I truly love this prompt!! it speaks to me and puts me right where I am in my life.

sifting through
the personal effects
of a spider’s web
an autumn wind loosens
another anchor thread
© Laura Williams (a.k.a. Lolly)

********************************

kitchen view river march 6th

She lived in the ancestral home by the river…not too long ago; this will be the first autumn without her. 

by the river
 last of the fallen leaves
 gathered
floating in the current
memories of you and me

wintertime,
locking souvenirs –
frozen in time

(c) Tournesol ‘15

le prunier très cher/ the prized plum tree (haibun)

Credits: Japanese Plums

Retour sur la piste de Basho Encore” qui a écrit le haïku suivant peu après la mort soudaine de son ami, Yoshitada.

furu oto ya mimi mo su-naru ume no ame

un son tombant
aigrir mes oreilles
la pluie des prunes

© Basho (Clr traduit de la traduction anglaise par Jane Reichhold)

le prunier très cher

Mon beau-père est décédé mardi. Ce haïbun est écris dans le souvenir de monsieur Bernard. Le haïku de Matsuo Basho m’a rappelé de bon souvenirs de ce grand homme.

Je n’ai jamais vu un prunier avant celui qui était dans la cour de monsieur Bernard (grand-père de nos enfants) quand j’avais à peine seize ans et la fiancée de son fils. Je me souviens de l’arbre qui était grand et maigrichon ; nous avons ri et l’avons tous taquiné à combien d’années qu’il faudra pour enfin voir des fruits ;  mais nous avions tort. En quelques années, l’arbre a fleuri et a porté ses fruits.

Il était si fier de son prunier. Cela signifiait plus qu’un arbre pour lui. Ce fut sa première nouvelle maison dont qu’il et son épouse avaient réussi à gratter et économisez pour loger leurs trois enfants adolescents. Leur fils aîné avait déjà deux petits enfants. Maintenant, ils avaient la liberté d’une grande espace verte avec une petite clairière au fond de la cour. Ils avaient lutté pendant de nombreuses années et maintenant ils avaient humble jardin, quelques arbres et une maison pour appeler «le leur».  C’était une grande victoire.

douce éclat
whoosh sur les brins d’
herbe
première goutte de prune

© Tournesol ‘15

 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

“Back on the trail of Basho Encore” who wrote the following haiku shortly after the sudden death of his friend, Yoshitada.

furu oto ya mimi mo su-naru ume no ame
a falling sound

that sours my ears
plum rain © Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

 the prized plum tree

My father-in-law and the grandfather of our children, died on Tuesday. This haibun is in memory of monsieur Bernard. Basho’s haiku reminded me of this great man.

The first plum tree I ever saw was in his back yard when I was barely sixteen, engaged to his son. I remember how tall and scrawny the tree looked and we all chuckled and teased him at how many years it would take to see any fruit but we were wrong. In just a few years, the tree blossomed and bore fruit.

He was so proud of his plum tree. It meant more than a tree to him. This was his first new house his wife and he had managed to scrape and save to own and house their three adolescent children. Their eldest son had already two small children. Now they had the freedom of a huge backyard with a wooded area beyond the property. They had struggled for many years so a humble garden, a few trees and a home to call “theirs” was a huge victory.

soft thump
swish on blades of grass
first plum drop

© Tournesol ’15

Carpe Diem, on the trial with Basho Encore

 

un grand homme/a great man (haibun)

© Clr – GrandPapa 1957                                      

We seem to be in the spirit of death, being in the middle of autumn, approaching Halloween and all Saint`s Day November 1st; we also call this month in French, le mois des morts (month of the dead).  November 11th, being rememberance day where we pay tribute to all the soldiers who gave their lives for their country and for world peace.  And so I continue on remembering another great man…my grandfather, when he died in his home, Princess, his old mongrel (spaniel mix) went down to the basement and howled grieving for her master.  She stayed there for a week in mourning.

la mort d’un grand homme – Grandpapa

pinson est muet
dernier souffle du maître,
vieux chien hurle

death of a great man – Grandfather

blue-finch falls silent
 master’s last breath,
old dog howls

© Tournesol ’14

Death of a loving man

Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

Photo credits:  Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

I chose the death of Fred, my step-father to share my first experience with the darkness of grief, feeling a huge loss that left me empty for almost 8 years.  There were 2 deaths that marked my life the most…as a child my grandfather and as an adult at 31 when my step-father died.

We live in a culture that is uncomfortable with death. We don’t even say the D word, now do we…much?  In the 70’s we heard of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross talk about the stages of grief and initially at that time, she was observing people who were diagnosed with a terminal illness.  The stages at that time were in relation to a process when faced with dying and death as in her book On Death and Dying: the Five Stages of Grief, first published in 1969: The Shock, denial, anger,  bargaining, depression…then acceptance; but negotiating/bargaining,   for example  would make more sense when we put in perspective someone who is negotiating with their creator, “Oh, G-d, are you sure it’s really my time? Maybe there is one more procedure…one last try…test…”  Kubler-Ross theory  was followed by so many people including professionals, throughout time up to about the mid or late nineties.   

I remember when this book came out.  It was  like THE gospel, the apostles’ creed of sorts; and although helpful the order of stages, at that time, confined many to feel they were not grieving “adequately” if they skipped a stage or if it lasted too long.  How can one measure one’s grief compared to another? 

Thank goodness in 2002 I joined a bereavement support agency (Bereaved Families of Toronto)  as a professional advisor helping youths grieve the loss of a sibling or parent. In my training, I felt so relieved when the grief counselor and professor at York University said, “Remember all those stages you learned in the 70’s and 80’s?”  We all bobbed our heads like good students. “Well, you can throw that out the window now.”  And a sense of relief came over me. What he meant was I was not tied to a set order of stages…the burden was finally removed.  No ONE was set to fit into a see through jar so everyone could evaluate if they were grieving right.

I remember when my step-father died in the summer of 1982.    My mother had not really accepted her loss until about a year or so later.

It was quite simple. Mom always said she felt his presence even when she went to bed at night. “He is right next to me each night. I am not lonely because he has never left me in spirit.”

I believe this is, on some level to be true. A year later, it was as if she suddenly woke up…her grief turned into a violent rage.  She had a difficult time dealing with this time…angry that he left her, angry that she was really alone. It was difficult on so many levels. Being a woman of that generation, born in 1926, strict Catholic upbringing…good girls do not get angry…must comply…accept.  Good thing they added “guilt” as another stage or emotion one feels with grieving. A good Catholic female knows how to feel guilt real well!

In a way, this stage of her grief was unleashing a very angry lioness.  Before it became liberating, it was quite frightening for her.  Many professionals and family to her she was experiencing a delay or complicated grief.   It was not delayed …she was simply grieving in her own unique way and in her own time. 

Thereafter, she felt much sadness, guilt and fell into depression. It was in spurts…not all in one shot since my children were young and she was often with us. I think the children eased the pain…made it more palpable. I hope so.

I had been exposed to death as a young child but children under 7 do have the same concept on death, developmentally they just cannot understand abstract thinking, only concrete. (Children and Grief by C.L. Roberts)

My step father was my first loss that I truly grieved a long long time…many years thereafter.  Perhaps the process was longer as I could not grieve all at once…I mean, I did not have the freedom to feel my sadness and emotions when I was with the children…they were so young both one and 4.  So it was only when I would go for a bike ride, a drive somewhere or long walk that I could be alone with my grief.

I loved him as my father…more than my father…he was good to me and loved my mother with so much affection and admiration that I loved him more for that.  His love took Mom out of her depression, I think for the 13 years they were together.  She made him fill with wonder, his eyes smiled at her always.  They both came from dark places, having suffered broken hearts, undeserving anguish.

You  know that GaGa look you get when you first fall in love?  My mother had that look for him …always!  Of course when I was 17, it made me sick…thought she was so silly and making a fool of herself sashaying around, flirting and all.  But as a teen we knew very little about love, sexuality and sensuality.  We think it is reserved for the young and firm bodies only.  Well, of course I learned differently as I matured but back then, my mother and my step-father were such an enigma.   I still was in awe at their love…that current of love waves…I say this because it was not electric…they did not have a hot, sizzling love affair but a warm, loving relationship…like warm, soft mellow waves wrapping them together, soothing, nice, sweet, calm and safe. 

She always loved him even into her dark illness of dementia…she would often still call out to her third husband, Fred.  Perhaps in her dementia, she is comforted with spiritual visits from her love, Fred.

Death of a loving man

(Tanka)

A true Love Story.

Two anguished souls mend their hearts.

Affectionate love.

One day his body failed him.

A part of her died with him.

 

**************

 

I asked a favour of the Lord

to have his life extend

until my daughter walked.

She still was only 8 months old.

 

****************

 

He was given three

months to live

when he left the hospital

so he could die at home

but, he stopped at the court house

to marry my mother officially

and ensure she would be secure

with his military pension as his widow.

What an act of love!

He sent her off to a ten week course

Assertiveness and building self-confidence.

He wanted her to be strong,

be able to stand on her own

and stand up for her rights

when he no longer would be here

to stand up for her.

What an act of love!

My daughter and I were visiting one day

Fred was lying in a hospital bed in the living room

resting and admiring my youngest child.

She crawled on her knees joyfully,

then up she stood so suddenly

and walked towards her grandfather.

Eleven months she was, and walking now.

my feelings were so bittersweet

I shed my tears of fear,

because her walking meant

his death would soon be near.

 

One night I felt I had to see

him one more time

And on my drive a bird hit…smack

the windshield of my car

I knew then, his time was near.

 

I told him for the very first time

I whispered softly in his ear,

“Don’t worry, Fred, I’ll be hear

and watch for Mom. I love you.”

He died that night in mother’s arms

I’m sad I did not tell him more

how much he meant to me.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/02/21

Dungeon Prompts – Season 2, Week 8: When did Death Become Real for You
 
 
Related article:  Youth and Grief (Ntouch-Alecoute)

Speechless

The last school shooting in Newtown, Ct. of Friday, December 14, 2012 has left the world shocked.  No words can comfort the parents, family, friends and especially the surviving students of this tragedy.

Even saying “students” is not fitting…these were little children!  To fathom such an atrocity makes me shudder.  No doubt, as millions watched CNN last Friday, our hearts went out to this wounded community.

I worried when my children were in high school and college of school shootings. Now my children are adults, I thought, I was free of worrying…but Friday was a wakeup call that the unthinkable can now occur.  I can’t believe that we  have to consider the ultimate safety of elementary schools from such tragedies.  How I worry for the little ones…my 8 year grandson …

As we are wrapping gifts, baking for the holidays and preparing our homes to celebrate life, love and peace, this community is mourning the worst possible grief any human being can face. 20 little innocent angels have been robbed of this right as well as 7 adults who were parents, friends, relative and colleague,  will never be a part of any celebrations.  Surviving children from this school will not be able to grasp this calamity and they have been robbed of their innocence and trust.

It may be healing or cathartic to express anger and blame this murderer; it may be help to shed blame on society, gun control and governments.  It may be therapeutic for many to put all energy and focus on problem solving and more finger pointing…but for now, that anger, that guilt, that heart wrenching sadness are part of loss and grief.  Feeling it and acknowledging it are the first steps of living and walking through this painful journey as this community mourns.

Praying…whether you regularly pray, or it has been years and you forgot the words…just allow your hearts to focus on the innocents that were robbed of their lives…of the parents, family, friends and a community that will never be the same. Leave the advocating, the proactive stances and blaming for now and give this community your love and your prayers and hug your children.

As this community begins to say goodbye this week you can also donate in memory of the victims:  http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/us/iyw-sandy-hook-victims-memorial/