|Pogonophile in Mourning|
This is Day 17 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
About 6 months before my husband died, I noticed that he was no longer wearing his wedding ring. When I asked him where it was, he said he had "temporarily misplaced it." In other words, he had lost it and had no idea where it was. I mourned this loss, because the ring was (of course) very special. When we were first engaged, we went to see Amma and when she heard of our impending union, she told us to daily say to each other, not "I love you," but "We are love." We had that sentence engraved on the inside of his ring.
After my husband died, I had to sell his vehicles rather quickly. Some wonderfully generous friends offered to clean out and detail both his work van and his car and they did an amazingly thorough job. When I was signing over his work van to the new owner, I dropped my pen on the floor of the van and when I reached under the seat to get it, what did I find, but his wedding ring! Not only did my very meticulous friends not find the ring, but it turned up, literally at the moment when a stranger was going to drive off in his van, never to be seen again. These are the moments when I feel like my husband has to be at work somehow, in the afterlife.
Now, everyone who knows me, knows that I have a deep love of bearded men. My husband had a beautiful beard that I adored almost as much as I adored him. When I was sitting with his body, hours after he had passed, a nurse helped me take a clipping of his beard, so that I could always feel his whiskers against my face. So when I found his ring, I removed my own wedding and engagement ring and wrapped them together around his beard clipping. It is now a powerful talisman, holding so much energy from both our bodies. I keep it in an abalone shell one of my dearest friends sent to me, after he passed away. She said it was told sacred objects and there is no object more sacred to me right now.
The first picture in this post shows that talisman, nestled in the abalone shell, sitting beneath an image of the Buddha that an old Spiritual Director of mine gave to me. Next to it is a King chess piece made of wood, that my husband made in middle school wood shop. It is a peaceful, loving place for my eyes to rest and this particular altar is in full view of my bed, so I can look at it in times of the anxiety and fear that grip me during my bouts with grief-induced insomnia.
What are some of your talismans or keepsakes from your beloved ones whom have passed away? What do you keep on the altar to remember them by?
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Photographer [Sarah Treanor] Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death by Jillian Wong
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
Living with Grief Resources:
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Loses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook feeds, as well as my Pinterest page on Grief. I use the hashtag #6MonthsOfGrief, so it can easily be found on any platform. Please share this project with anyone you think might need it.
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.