The beloved life partner of a long-time friend was interred in a green burial today, a glorious May morning full of flowers (she loved gardening…); and I find myself with little to say.
It’s been that way for the past two weeks. Not exactly writer’s block, as I have in fact drafted several poems, but an extreme sense of turning-inward. My nature is reflective–I’ve always fallen into the introvert category (INFP for those who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs assessment)–but my job requires pretty constant interaction with other people, students and colleagues for the most part, and quite a bit of listening and talking. I enjoy my job and find it rewarding; but the stressful weeks just before exams, when term papers are due, can be challenging for a person whose inclination is to read books and putter in the dirt.
I planted seeds in the earth, and picked flowers. And then placed flowers on a coffin woven of reeds which was lowered into the earth.
Returning home the quiet overcame me. I’ve been reading poetry today instead of the Sunday New York Times.
Also, I’ve been reading books on “good death” and “mindful dying,” and the guidance of some sensitive and experienced authors seems appropriate and grounded.
But grief is hard. It’s probably one reason we invented philosophy, religion, and poetry.
One of my go-to anthologies for sorrow is Pinsky’s The Handbook of Heartbreak, which I’ve mentioned in a previous post. In addition, I opened Christian Wiman’s book Every Riven Thing at random and came upon his poem “From a Window“–