For Lent this year, I tried something different. While reading a book titled Listening Below The Noise by Anne D. LeClaire, I decided, similar to the author, to have silent days on each Monday in Lent. Quite challenging, right? Well, I picked Mondays because I always write on Mondays and usually do not answer the phone or do errands so it would be the easiest day to be successful. Of course, I would have to figure out how to not talk to my four children and husband
once the late afternoon began. The first Monday went by well enough and I decided I could write notes if I truly needed to communicate. The second Monday was not so easy. My oldest was sick. I had to take her to the doctor and then to school so speaking was necessary. My quiet day did not start until 11:00AM! Later that day, a friend left a message on my phone that her mother had died suddenly …this changed my challenge because whereas not talking in my own house made me a better listener and brought some silence to my loud world, not talking to her at this time seemed unkind.
This dilemma with my friend made me think about grief and how much silence from loved ones and friends can hurt someone who is grieving, but also how at times, friends speaking and saying the wrong thing can hurt just as much. It is such a balancing act to use our words and show empathy and love; an act that takes conscious self-control and word choice. Choosing each sentence is important when we are speaking to someone who is grieving. Choosing words carefully makes me think of poetry. Maybe it is why I am drawn to poetry. A man or women spends hours and hours putting words on a page that paint a picture. Each word carries powerful weight. Poetry is a break from the day; poetry opens our hearts; poetry is a way to enjoy the moment and when one is grieving it is hard to enjoy the moment; poetry reminds us to enjoy the little things in life and to be grateful for what we have even if we ache for what we don’t have. April is National Poetry month and so for this reason I will be posting a link to a poem on most days in the month of April on my Journaling Away Mommy’s Grief FB page. Some will be about grief, some will be uplifting and some will just be about minutia.
Silence and speaking: let each of us find this balance and let it help us on our journeys of our silent loved ones. I’ll begin with the ballad, Danny Boy, by Fredrick Edward Wheatley. Let it take you to that faraway place with your loved one and let the silence there be peaceful.