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Archive for March, 2010

“I Need to Know”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

One of my greatest teachers is my seven year old nephew, George. As soon as we see each other, we give each other big hugs. His face lights up when I walk in the room and my heart lights up when he walks in the room. My last visit with him was no exception. It had been a good few weeks since my past visit with George. When I walked in the door, there was an excited shout, “Aunt Mary Anne, you’re here!” I gave him a tight hug and said, “I’ve missed you.” George responded, “I haven’t seen you in three months.” It was his way of saying that it felt like a really long time.

We decided to go out for lunch. Upon returning to my sister’s house, George and I went for a walk. There is a wonderful small pond near his house and George took my hand and off we went. We spoke about school, his trip to Ireland, his birthday, and other random things. Upon returning back to the house, he said he wanted to stay outside. Although most of their lawn still had a lot of snow, the day was bright and not that cold, so we decided to play in the driveway. Our first game was “Mario Brothers goes to the Winter Olympics.” George would name a Mario character and an Olympic event, act out the event, and give a score. The highlight was watching him pretend to ice skate and do curling – as entertaining as the live Olympics.

We decided we would play hide and go seek in the backyard. I hid first and George could not find me despite giving hints with making noises. I came out of my spot and George asked, “Where were you?” I told him I would hide there again on my next turn. He said, “But where were you?” I told him that he can look again on the next round. “But Aunt Mary Anne, I need to know.” It was at that point I smiled and asked, “You need to know?” I think he wanted to know and it was hard for him to look again. He took his turn hiding and then I took mine, returning to the same spot. I peeked out and George found me.

All day I couldn’t get his little voice and expression out of my head – I need to know. How many times had I wanted to know something that I convinced myself I needed to know it? Is there anything I really need to know?

The day was full of big hugs, long walks, being lost and being found – I have everything I need to know.

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my nephew George who I love this, this, this, this much!

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From Grief to Grace

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Two years ago I wrote an article about grief that was published on-line. I was feeling the emotions of grief that revisited my heart. I wrote that when grief inhabits my heart it hits like the wave at the ocean. For a long-time I had an annual grief “visit” and the whole world would become silent and motionless.

I wrote in the article, “For some time, I push away the grief like a fly in my ear. But the grief begins to fill my entire body, each cell becoming morphed with endless emptiness. I search my mind for a cause.  I look for the basic needs of the season; I need more sun! There is more than sunshine needed to replenish the parts of me lost and forgotten. I dig deeper and find that I have become disconnected to the necessary life cycles. I am distracted by what’s around me and not connected with who is around me. When there is deep grief, I believe there is often great loneliness. I am a sojourner on the grief path.

It’s the annual visit by grief that consumes my heart and opens the void. I know allowing grief to come and go freely, without judging or blaming, is the key. For me, grief reminds me of how many things I no longer remember and how I long to connect with loved ones that have crossed. I long to pick up the phone and tell my mom about my day, my new project, or a class I am teaching. But my mom passed away, and all I have is the belief that she will hear my voice when I tell her out loud.

There is a crossover between beginnings and endings. I am overwhelmed by the notions of life and death. I wonder if the word “breath” is really just a combination of birth and death.”

It’s been almost ten years since my mom’s passing and I am reminded again of grief as I watch a loved one learn about the return of malignant tumors.  I am reminded of how precious each moment of life is. The gift of grief is that you are completely present to it.

Whether we know how much time we have with a loved one or not, it’s the lesson of “showing up”, even when it’s not easy. We show up with love and that is all grief needs to flow into grace. We show up with love because in the end that’s all we really need.

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to Lorene and her mom.

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