Tag: Grief

The Stones Speak

The Stones Speak

_tsl9187Day dawned dark with news from afar;

Earth, water no longer sacred?

Money won—gods of greed and tar.

Now civil rights mired in hatred.

 

To my knees I fell, sobs escaped my lips;

Oh, my God! Has sanity been eclipsed?

 

_tsl9288Darkness gathered and shadows grew.

Hope dimmed, panic began to rise.

My mind raced, whatever can I do?

Darkness comes in golden disguise.

 

A voice then came through, so clear and so loud:

“Go to the stones and walk among the clouds.”

 

_tsl9141My grief and I put on our boots

And went out in the cold and snow.

We stood with stones in armored suits

And listened as the wisdom flowed.

 

“It’s time to wake-up and see the truth here.

None of this matters in five thousand years.”

 

_tsl9304The stones spoke—ages, wars went by:

Ancient wisdom, patience and trust,

I saw time make the darkness fly.

Peace grew strong, swords crumbled in rust.

 

“This is a moment in time, a heart beat.

Cry your tears, but don’t forever you weep.”

 

_tsl9099The peace of snow and ancient times

Enfolded me with grace and calm.

I walked along those Druid lines

And there I found the sweetest balm.

 

“Wake up and shine and know love is the key.

This world can heal and be one, you will see.”

_tsl9320

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

SimoneLipscomb (6)Today I read a story about two men who lost loved ones in the tsunami in Japan a few years ago. The two women, who worked at the same bank, were swept away in the huge wave and left behind a husband and a father. After the devastating event, the men decided to learn to scuba dive.

This wasn’t an easy task. Both were in their fifties and while that’s not a deterrent, they both reported it was difficult learning to dive; however, their desire to dive pushed them to complete the training.

SimoneLipscomb (3)It wasn’t a recreational pastime they sought but a way to search for the women they loved. Now they regularly dive in the cold waters off the coast of Japan looking for anything they can find of their loved ones….a shoe, a purse, a dress….their physical remains.

I was reminded, while reading the story, how we search for those we love. They may no longer be with us in the physical sense yet can continue to be very present emotionally, spiritually and mentally. We hold their love, their shiny brilliance and the good they brought to us, like priceless treasures. And like the divers from Japan, we are willing to explore dark, cold waters of the subconscious mind to gather in the remnants of memory that keep us connected to them.

_TSL3407The loss of someone close–through separation, divorce, death–is profound, deep and difficult to move beyond, especially when the love was strong. It’s been over three years for me and the love is strong and deep and the memories of our first few years together sparkle like sunbeams in my heart. Even though it was a choice we both made, the pain is no less real, the loss is no less great, than death. And it was a death…of us as partners.

It’s okay to dive deep within looking for those beautiful moments and memories…not to stay stuck in the past but to celebrate something that was really good and beautiful once upon a time.

 

Love, Peace, Respect

Love, Peace, Respect

SimoneLipscomb (2)Some days are just strange. This afternoon is one of the weirdest I’ve had in a long time. It has reminded me of why I love animals. And why I want to hide and leave FaceBook forever.

A friend texted me about the bald eagle that died in Gulf State Park. I posted it on FaceBook but then so did other folks. And the proverbial shit-storm of a public relations nightmare is happening in coastal communities here in Alabama. People are blaming a cable that stretches across part of the lake for being the root of all evil in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I guess that haven’t noticed the spaghetti web of power lines criss-crossing the island that offer much more hazards to birds such as eagles and osprey, pelicans, terns, gulls. Perhaps they haven’t noticed the concrete and glass wall of condos that line the beaches and cause more bird deaths and interruption of sea turtle nesting than we, as humans, ever realize.

SimoneLipscomb (1)It’s sad…it’s terrible…it’s really awful that a bald eagle died. No denying that. But to blame a state park zip line isn’t a rational way to deal with grief.

I worked as a guide during the spring of last year at the zip line course. It was an amazing experience to witness families, kids, teens and even a veteran paratrooper from World War II do that course. The guides help people connect with nature and teach them about the wildlife found around our beautiful coastal area. The positive energy generated from children, teens, moms and dads, grandparents experiencing that course is amazing!

But today, it’s like an old-fashioned witch hunt. I don’t understand. The hate and violent words being spoken are beyond belief. Can we just stop the finger-pointing and grieve? Can this bring us together rather than create more division, more separateness? Can’t we feel the pain of loss without lighting fires of hatred?

SimoneLipscombI’m sitting at my desk in my upstairs office. The live oak tree shelters the large, arched window but I can see the soft sunset colors of pale pink and blue. A large vulture just flew past with several friends of his that have been hanging out in the neighborhood this week. Native cultures thought vultures to symbolize purification and the cycle of death and rebirth.

Isn’t it time we learn how to grieve loss, love others, have respect? Perhaps the vultures are a reminder to purify the way we interact with one another. This cycle of death and rebirth applies not only to physical life but to thoughts, emotions, behaviors.

Native cultures saw eagle as the illuminator of spirit, healing and creation. Let us honor the life of this magnificent bird by healing the negative attitudes, critical finger-pointing and learn to love each other. “To align oneself with eagle medicine is to take on the responsibility and the power of becoming so much more than you now appear to be.” * Let us do that in memory of this beautiful creature.

SimoneLipscomb (3)

*Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

Love Never Ends

Love Never Ends

SimoneLipscomb (1)The sun slowly set across the bay. From my perch on the end of the hurricane-damaged pier I sat alone—utterly alone— yet surrounded by endless memories. As I closed my eyes and listened, I could almost hear the laughter of my brother and cousins when we were children. I could hear our mom’s calling out, “Don’t run! Don’t run on the pier!”

A mullet splashed and brought me back to the present. My thoughts turned to my grandfather. If only he could be in the swing sitting with me on the pier telling stories of hauling watermelons to New Orleans. Or maybe he would tell the story of getting married to my grandmother, of having seven dollars and the Pensacola judge asking ten dollars to perform their marriage. It left them no money for lunch. He perhaps would remind me they did not tell anyone they were married for two weeks and they only knew they loved each other. That was all that mattered.

Granddad with the great-grand kids
Granddad with the great-grand kids

As I sat on the pier and watched the sunset, I thought back to days when our entire family was together—Dad and Mom, Mammaw and Granddad, Babe and Preston, Patti, Paula, Mike, Johnny, my brother and me, Aunt Bert, Aunt Carrie, Aunt Teet–all of us together enjoying fish fries, water skiing, sailing, crabbing, fishing, swimming, and nights spent on the pier staring up into star-filled heavens. Summer days were filled with the essence of family, fun, seafood, salt water, sunshine, and the ingredient that made it all magic—love.

Granddad and my daughter Emily...1986
Granddad and my daughter Emily…1986

It was not that it had all been easy. There had been difficulties, heartaches, mistakes, deaths and sadness, but that is only part of being human. It is part of life. The thread that had kept us all together was love—love anchored by Granddad and Mammaw for sixty-three years and then by Granddad for the past several years. In my reverie on the pier, I realized that with his passing our anchor would be gone. Each family, now including great grand children, some of whom were adults, would drift farther away from the nucleus that Granddad had anchored. Our lives would change. The thread would unravel a little more.

I remembered how things changed when Mammaw passed on years earlier. We began using disposable plates at Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of her favorite china. Granddad missed her greatly but went on the best he could, honoring and loving her with a deep, true love. Granddad made an effort to step in and do things with my brother and me when our dad was unable. We rode horses together, sometimes with my brother Lance following along on his bicycle. I never realized until recently how he helped father us when our own father was sick.

Granddad and me in a Foley Christmas parade...circa 1975 or so
Granddad and me in a Foley Christmas parade…circa 1975 or so

Why is it that only when we face losing someone we love do we realize just how deep love’s grooves are worn into our hearts?

An empty bottle floated past the pier. It bobbed slowly past as the current carried it out to sea. Our lives are so much like that bottle—floating along on the currents of time, steered by an unseen force from the day we are born until we die. Is it chance that steers the current of our lives together or is it some greater force that brings us into each other’s presence? Maybe it is a little of both, but regardless, it is love that keeps us close, that brings us to a place of understanding and tolerance, of patience and peace.

SimoneLipscomb (7)I turned and looked back over my shoulder, up the pier to the moss-draped live oak trees and the large white house that my grandparents called home for so many years. I swear I could see Granddad walking down to the pier in his khaki work pants and shirt wearing his boots and straw hat to sit with me and tell me once more about…..memories flooded my mind and my heart listened wide open, as my grandfather shared his life story just one more time.

*******

I wrote this after visiting my grandfather on the way back to North Carolina…just after his surgery and before Hurricane Katrina. A few days later I shared it at his funeral and later still, it ended up in a chapter of my first book, Sharks On My Fin Tips(Published by Grateful Steps Publishing House, 2008).

Dancing in the Fire

Dancing in the Fire

SimoneLipscomb (3)“His list was full of things enjoyed in the past yet cut out of his life. While I wasn’t listed, it wasn’t difficult to read between the lines. The friendship, so strong and sacred to me, was put away as a ‘thing’ of the past with as much indifference as a trivial hobby–quickly forgotten, never missed. The promise of a forever friendship cast aside as the judge’s ink dried.”

Every human knows the experience of loss.

Dancing in the Fire...Painting by Simone Lipscomb
Dancing in the Fire…Painting by Simone Lipscomb

Do we collapse with grief and sadness or allow the fire of transformation to burn away the dross as we dance in the ashes of our former self?

When someone dies, whether it’s their physical self or the fragments of their personality, we must grieve. Our grief leads us to discover inner strength and courage. It develops within us the will to love again…beginning with love of our self.

Willing to feel the heat and fire of our hearts as they open wider and deeper, we develop courage which allows us to dance in the fire of self-transformation.

Mexicali Rose...Painting by Donna O'Neal
Mexicali Rose…Painting by Donna O’Neal