Grief is surprisingly sensual. Every sense seems heightened as if attuned to opportunities to grieve. Recently I decided to drive through Starbucks and as it came into my visual field I immediately found myself in tears. The Starbucks was landscaped with beautiful lavender Heather in full bloom. When we lived in our previous home our Sequoia tree in the front yard was surrounded by a fairy ring of Heather. I loved late January when it would come to life and early announce the coming of Spring. When we lived in that place Becky was alive and living in our home. That was all it took – no conscious thought, just the beauty of Heather and I was in tears and thankful for dark glasses that concealed my eyes.
The right smell, the sound of the music that she loved, the loving touch of a friend’s hug, the color red, over and over and at the oddest times my senses remind me of Becky. This experience extends to the supernatural world too. Scriptures have taken on new depth as I realize them within the context of a dearly loved one’s death. Prayer is constant but not necessarily conscious. I’m aware of the spiritual in ways new to me. I love more deeply and that depth extends both to my relationship with God and to those He has given me to love here on earth. My compassion is aroused and tears, again, surface readily for my fellow sufferers.
In all my life I’ve never been a crier and I’m shocked by all of this and find myself wondering when I will be ‘normal’ again. When will I get back to being one for whom tears are a rare hard thing? I’m surprised to find hope that at some level the changes are permanent – not that I want to be a walking raw wound the rest of my life given to tears in the oddest circumstances, but that the appreciation and depth I’ve gained relationally remains part of the new me.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Isaiah 43:19-21