And if, in the changing phases of (a mother's) life
I fall in sickness and in misery
my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead
and strength is gone, and my life
is only the leavings of a life:
and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion,
and snatches of renewal
odd, wintry flowers upon the withered stem,
yet new, strange flowers
such as my life has not brought forth before,
new blossoms of me -
then I must know that stillThe "changing phase" of my life has dealt what could be an unrecoverable blow - the suicide death of a beloved seventeen-year old son. Indeed the aftermath, as aptly described by the poet, is shattered bones, a dead heart and deep fatigue from shouldering such grief, guilt and remorse, leaving only a mere shadow or "leavings" of the former naive life.
I am in the hands of an unknown God,
he is breaking me down to his oblivion
to send me forth on a new morning,
a new (woman).
On the outside, I may look the same as the "pre-Josh" days but internally, nothing is the same. I am not the same person; I am irrevocably changed. Before reading this poem, I thought the difference was because of the Josh-shaped vacuum in my heart. I have also described it as an internal amputation; the instant I found him, and my brain registered what happened, a piece of me was brutally hacked off. So the focus was on what I didn't have, what was missing, what was lost and gone - never to return.
These words made me realize and acknowledge that even in the midst of death and destruction, loss and misery, the"withered stem" can give birth to "odd, strange, wintry flowers" that have never been seen before. And that these are new bits or "blossoms"of me. Writing very openly on a public blog is a new blossom. Reading new genres and authors over the past 3+ years - also new blossoms. The fact that I ran a half-marathon a year later to help raise money for the foundation in Josh's name (I despise running) is a big blossom. My perspective on life is different; another new blossom.
The poet says this is evidence of the tender work of God. And that despite it all, I am still in the palm of His hand. I believe it. This realization filled me with such solace that tears flowed.