In memoriam

A year has passed since a tragedy shook our local community. Barely a day goes by when I do not think of dear Una, who on one November morning lost her husband and two precious daughters. Each time I see her family I ask for her, even though I have never met her.  Each time I pass her house where her dear children died, I pray for her. Each time I pass the spot where her husband crashed his car, I pray for them all. 

For months the spot was charred, black and barren – a gaping hole of pain made physical, a constant reminder for the whole community of the pain of one woman and her whole family. I thought many times about going and planting some bulbs, some shoots of life, hope and colour in the burnt out hillside. But it was not my space to desecrate. 

But then one day in early summer, I drove past and the bank was a blaze of colour. Planted by someone, I know not who. Perhaps the family, perhaps the community council. A sign of renewal for Una, for the community who mourn still.  

May flowers grow for you again dear Una, may your life blossom in unforseen ways, may miracles find you. May love be with you everywhere you go.

Last year’s post:

For Una, and all who grieve,

I send you a prayer with every breath. I cannot begin to comprehend your pain, the scale of your loss.

The storm winds of the mother soul howled around this house last night, and every other house in the area, the tears of God raining down upon us as we battened down our hatches and sent continual prayers that you are finding peace and comfort somehow. We are counting and recounting our own blessings with every prayer. Wishing we could transfer them to you.

Words cannot begin to express the sense of deep, deep sadness that every mother and father in our community feels at this moment. We hold our own, dear children closely to us, as though we can immunize them and ourselves from suffering and pain through our tiny, repeated act of love, wishing, wishing that this would bring your children back to you.

We wake to a blue sky, the rays of sunshine promising hope. But the mood is dark and sombre. The usual school gate chatter is gone. Even the playground is eerily quiet. We are united in your pain: we are all one.

We want to talk but talking changes nothing. Nor does the news. It is like scratching an itch, it momentarily makes things feel better, and then worse. The facts are not what we want. We seek to find a way through the shock, the senselessness, the destructive possibilities of the human spirit. The knife edge of normality which we unknowingly walk along every day and which disaster can shatter in an instant. As I feed our chickens and empty our bins, I wish you the soothing tedium of mundanity.

The mother soul is grieving for one of its own. Know that we are united around you, though you cannot see us or may not know us. We hold the space for you, for you to be as you need, in this moment. We open our Madonna’s cloaks, fall into their soft folds, let us hold you and croon you a lullaby to soothe you into sleep and the momentary forgetfulness that it will bring, let us wail together, let us wash you clean of your pain in our tears, let us feed you and hold you as you cry and scream and rage and then lie silent.

I pray that you might find life after death. Someday, somehow.

With love, deepest love, dear Una and all your family.

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