Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Solace...... Sunday Scribblings

Over at Sunday Scribblings, this week, they ask: "In what do you find solace? What place is solace for you? Where do you go in yourself or outside of yourself when you need comfort or consolation? Why do you seek solace? What does it mean for you?"


I so often find that the prompt is apt to what's going on for me at any given time, but today, that word is more than apt, and these questions are more than meaningful for me. In this time, these short couple of weeks after the loss of my mother, I am seizing scraps of solace here and there, and I have been lucky, lucky, lucky in being able to stay with my family until I felt ready to return to my own home (which I did just two days ago).

I have taken solace in the sight of my Dad sitting in his chair with a glass of milk and a sandwich (or later in the day, with a glass of his favourite tipple, a little whiskey). I have taken solace in the presence of my sisters and brothers, my nephews, neices and cousins. I have sought out the comfort of sleep, dropping into naps and snoozes at all hours of day or night, and have slept in the bed that once was my mother's.

My soul has been soothed with the repetition of favourite prayers and sayings from Bahá’í writings. I haven't been able to concentrate very fully on reading anything unfamiliar, so have relied on memory.

I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?
........ (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

And my mother's favourite prayer:

"Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
............ (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah)

Over and over, there is solace in such a prayer; there is healing.

I haven't felt like listening to radio, or turning on the TV. I haven't even sought out music, until today - my first day alone, but I have had music in my head, and the words of the song my brother sang as part of the funeral service have stayed with me as a solace and comfort.

"Close your eyes... you can close your eyes... it's alright..." Over and over, like a mantra of consolation.

More than anything, though, I've found solace in the words and contact from people who have heard of my mother's death and gotten in touch, in person, by post, by phone or email to say "I'm sorry for your loss". People say there are no adequate words, but the simple gesture of reaching out touches the grieving soul, lets them know they are not alone in their loss, and it is hugely comforting. My sister and I sat yesterday (the first proper opportunity I'd had) and read the comments left on the post where I announced my mother's death. 32 people that we've never met reached out and offered words of comfort and consolation that left us both in tears.

At home, during the days of the funeral preparations, people came to our home with flowers, flowers, flowers. The house still smells of lilies and freesias. Those who knew my mother - and it seems, even those who only knew of her - knew that she loved fresh flowers. Her grave was covered with so many wreaths they lay 3-deep, and though my mother was a person of moderate tastes, and not given to extravagance in any form, none of us considered for a moment limiting the number of flowers. That once, that last time, extravagance was the right thing for my mother. And that gives me solace.

Her resting place is a beautiful cemetary. Her grave adjoins that of one of her beloved sisters, and that gives me solace.

Now I am at the point where I could wander, ramble and say so much, but for now, I will leave what I have to say at that. ... And this...

I thank each of you for your kindness and your thoughts. If you did not see my first post saying my dear mother had passed away, let me tell you that there is great solace and comfort for all my family in the fact that her death was peaceful, quiet and free of pain.

There was so much solace for me, in the initial shock of the news (received while I was in California, a continent and an ocean away from home), in the presence of friends who held me and comforted me, prayed with me, and saw me safely on my way home; in the blessing of my son, my wonderful young man, who met me in New York, and travelled the rest of the journey with me, protectively shepherding me, and fielding all the travel difficulties that we encountered.

My family is a family that has been blessed in many ways. We have encountered no great tragedies along the path, and we have all come into adulthood, and seen our children grow, before we have experienced the loss of a parent. I know how fortunate I've been in this. I thank God for the mother and father I was given.

In the past, I've avoided writing too much here about my mother, frankly because during her time in the nursing home (7 years), it became too sad, too difficult to share what I felt about her, but I think you will all be hearing much more in time to come, about Mary (Eaton) Maguire, my mother, whose presence in this world was a solace to me, to all of my family, and to many many more.

May she rest in peace.

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At 26/7/08 12:35 pm, Blogger Robbin with 2 B's! said...

So good to hear from you Imelda, and I look forward to reading more about your sweet mother. I am so glad you were wrapped in such love shared with your family and friends because that's what gets us through life's journey for sure. I hope your day is full of peace and solace.

At 26/7/08 1:31 pm, Blogger Deirdre said...

It's really wonderful you were able to be with your family so much during this early grief.

I think of you often and am glad to see you here today. xoxo

At 26/7/08 1:46 pm, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Wonderfully put..

Family and friends just by their presence offer solace..

Entertain me, will you?

At 26/7/08 2:53 pm, Blogger anthonynorth said...

A beautiful tribute at the end. Yes, family and friends are so important at this time. And afterwards, you take that support with you to allow yourself to resume your life.

At 26/7/08 4:24 pm, Blogger Granny Smith said...

I am so glad that you found such sources of comfort from family and friends - and yes, from the fragrance of flowers. I will look forward to learning more about your mother in future blogs. Writing about loved ones who are gone is one way of keeping them a vital part of your life.

Peace be with you,

At 26/7/08 5:08 pm, Blogger Devil Mood said...

I'm really sorry about your Mother. It seems you are slowly recovering with a few important aspects of consolation. You're right about the prompt never having been so adequate as now.

I'm happy that you have your relatives around you and also that you're counting your blessings, I know you're heading in the right direction. God bless you.

At 26/7/08 6:50 pm, Blogger Becca said...

Imelda, you've been in my thoughts so often since I read of your mother's passing. I was hopeful that you were with all your family, and I'm so glad you was able to bring solace to each other.

I'll look forward to reading the memories you choose to share of your mother, and will continue to keep you in my heart.

At 26/7/08 8:51 pm, Blogger Ernestine said...

Continued thoughts of compassion and peace are being sent your way.
So glad your family and friends were there to help you at this time.

At 26/7/08 11:59 pm, Blogger danni said...

imelda - even though i can't know your pain exactly, i can appreciate the magnitude of this for you by the fact that i too have had loss and suffered grief - someone told me that whenever someone reaches out a hand to grab it - i'm glad that you have had lots of hands reaching out to help and comfort you - this piece was a wonderful bit of sharing and a lovely tribute to your mother - i love "mother" stories, and i'll look forward to more posts about your mother - may you continue to be supported and blessed in your grief!!!

At 27/7/08 12:28 am, Blogger Julie said...

My dear Imelda,

I am glad you are finding some solace. It took me awhile to think back on my mom. For a long time her death was shut away in a "room" in my brain with the door firmly closed. Now it is not a room of death but of loving memories which I visit often.

There was a poem my mom loved which my brother refused to read at her funeral. He didn't think it was "appropriate". (My husband read it instead as I knew I could not get through it.)

Before the coffin was closed I rolled that poem into a scroll and tied it up in a ribbon with fresh flowers. Now, I'm sure many people thought was foolish, but I know what my mom loved.

At 27/7/08 7:21 am, Blogger Inland Empire Girl said...

That is one of my favorite James Taylor songs and I can see it giving a person solace. You have been surrounded by friends and family and glad you arrived home safe.

At 27/7/08 3:01 pm, Blogger JoAnnA Pierotti said...

Someone this morning directed me to your blog, as I too am grieving the loss of my mom. I am so sorry for you, another daughter feeling the void. It is the hardest thing I've ever had to experience. It's been five months for me and my mom's death was sudden, unexpected and I'm still trying to move forward. Art for me is my therapy and I'm grateful for that. Do what you love to do, for that really does help even if it is hard to get started.

I wish you peace.

At 27/7/08 3:17 pm, Blogger Shyam said...

May you find joy in your memories and peace in your heart. That was a moving tribute to your mother. My sympathies for your loss.

At 27/7/08 4:21 pm, Blogger Remiman said...

I extend my heartfelt condolences to you for your loss. The closeness of family is truly the lynch-pin for living through one's grief. Grief is not to be banished but rather lived, for only then can there be a healing.
One of a mother's tasks is to teach her children love. She did a fine job with you.

At 27/7/08 5:10 pm, Blogger JP/deb said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dear mother. May the solace of family, memories, friends, and faith continue to surround you. xx, JP/deb

At 27/7/08 7:30 pm, Blogger Rob Kistner said...

May you find peace as you pass through this point in time, beyond which things are now changed. I pray you find strength in the power of memories, and in the power of love...

At 27/7/08 7:45 pm, Blogger Karen said...

When I read this week's prompt back on Friday, the first thing that popped into my head was "I wonder if Imelda will respond to this." You did, and as always, beautifully. I hope that you have found solace writing it, and I hope you know that you've touched us all with your response.

At 27/7/08 8:18 pm, Blogger tumblewords said...

A beautiful tribute to your mother. I'm so sorry for your loss. There's nothing like a family's love to help one over the hurdles and provide the healing and solace one needs. A lovely post!

At 28/7/08 2:01 am, Anonymous Bluebethley said...

Thank you for posting this moving tribute to your mother. I remember sitting with my sister and reading the condolence cards out loud. What wording had once seemed cliches as we had looked at these cards in a store suddenly became incredibly nurturing as expressions of love and support poured in. Sometimes people cannot say what they most deeply feel. I hope that you feel loved and nurtured by your memories and by your many friends.

At 28/7/08 2:26 am, Blogger Tammie Lee said...

Imelda, my heart goes to you.
I read your post with tears in my eyes and for so many reasons.
The passing of your mother, with everyone else I say "I am sorry for your loss"! Your son meeting you, traveling with you, caring for you- well I am so happy for you to have this in him. I feel thankful that you have so many things to find solace in at this time in your life.
with warmth,

At 28/7/08 2:30 pm, Blogger lila said...

Looking forward to hearing more about your mother in future posts.
I've been reading lots more from the late John O'Donohue. I always think of you when I read his works.
He has a lovely poem about how our death is always walking beside us...makes it seem less strange and frightening.

At 29/7/08 1:40 am, Blogger Divinedesign said...

I too have been reading John O'Donohue, and yes, your words evoke those of John, who also just passed away.
Perhaps you would also find solace in his writings?

At 30/7/08 1:55 am, Blogger KathrynAntyr said...

Hi Imelda, Thank you for commenting on my blog about my SoulCollage tea party. It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. It worked out so effortlessly. I look forward to learning more and incorporating the SoulCollage process in my soul journey.

I read your tender post and now I my eyes are wet with tears.

Take a moment to visit this page on my blog:

This is a digital collage titled, "The Gift of Flight." When I have felt sad, or in a dark place, lonely, or perhaps restless, I remember that I have the gift of flight. Your flight is a beautiful dance and even though it is hard to feel it now, you will fly again.

All the best, Kathryn Antyr

At 30/7/08 1:56 am, Blogger KathrynAntyr said...

I just noticed that the link was cut off. To find the Gift of Flight, go to my archive (see top navigation) and look down for the title. I published it on June 10, 2008.

The castle by the way is Edinburgh.

At 2/8/08 12:57 am, Anonymous tinker said...

I'm glad you've found some solace, some comforting moments during this time, Imelda. Family, friends, the familiar words of favorite prayers and music. What a lovely song your brother chose. Wishing you many more moments of solace, as you move through this part of your journey~((hugs))

At 13/8/08 11:34 pm, Anonymous kathryn/ said...

Dear Imelda--returning the visit. I so enjoyed James Taylor's song. I listened several times and sang along. Thanks for the reminder of his gifts.

Blessings on you and your mother and family at this time, and always.

Kathryn xoxoxo


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