It’s “the continual presence of an absence”


5x7 landscape panel grief poem - Page 001

I created and framed these pics for my mom for Mothers’ Day, 2006, 5 months after she had lost her third child and I had lost my last sibling:

“The world loves closure, loves a thing that can, as they say,be gotten through. This is why it comes as a great surprise to find that loss is forever, that (two) decades after the event there are those occasions when something in you cries out at the continual presence of an absence.” Anna Quindlen

Fifty years ago today, my little brother, Ronnie slipped away from us early in the morning, after a sixteen-hour illness.  I was twelve years old. Nine months earlier, my baby sister had been born too early and lived only seven hours. (those footprints are only 1 3/4 in. long)

While there is a lot I have forgotten, I still remember parts of that day as if it were this morning. Most of all I remember the despair of the finality of death. It was forty-five years later after Gordon died, that I found and understood the powerful meaning behind this quote by journalist  Anna Quindlen.  I am grateful for people who capture profound concepts with words.

 . . . the continual presence of an absence. . . 

I know what these words mean now. I know how it feels.

Grief is not a done-in-one thing…something we get over. We don’t move on. We wouldn’t want to, for that would require forgetting. Oh, it changes, it ebbs and flows. Sometimes it feels like a flood, sometimes like a fog. Often it’s in the background. It becomes part of the weave of our lives. And we are never quite the same.

3 Replies to “It’s “the continual presence of an absence””

  1. This really spoke to me after I shared with you about my mother’s death 46 years ago. I know that God has/ had His hand in bringing me closer to Him versus not having to go through this. I still talk to her….but I talk to Jesus more…but you helped me validate these feelings even today. thank you!

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