Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fine Lines

A poet can take all the grief from her heart
(the pain that can swell and break a heart)
and write it in fine black lines
on starchy white paper. . . .

--from Fine Black Lines, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad

photo credit

WHEN my former husband abandoned our family back in 2005 (the girls were then 2 and 4 years old), I felt as though I’d had the life sucked from me. After several months in survival mode doing what I had to do to make sure that we would continue to live on, I started writing. At first, the task of putting down those first words was daunting. When grief is new, feelings are so raw and close to the surface. I found that every time something came out, I would see it on the white sheets of paper and cry; sob. But, what surfaced over time was a way to lay down my pain, and through writing, promote my mental and physical well-being.

TIME wasn’t an issue. I felt like I had a lot of time. Although I still had my day-to-day tasks of caring for two very young children, 24 hours seemed like an eternity of time. I began by carrying a spiral bound notebook. I would jot down memories, or words that would conjure a thought or a scene. After a few days, I had many ideas down to work from. My earliest works were so lonely and sad; sentences strewn together that had no resolve. Eventually this all evolved into a process.

PROCESS- There did not seem to be a set time frame in my mind for how long I would write. I knew that it was a process and my hope was that someday the writing would become less frequent, signaling at least to me an end to the pain. But as I continued to write, not only did I become interested in WHAT I was writing, but what it LOOKED like on the page; how it SOUNDED out loud and what it FELT like. The process became clearer.

GOD He was there through all of what my children and I went through and continues to be with us each day. I was surrounded by my wonderful family and friends, and a wonderful CHURCH. I knew that God had placed us in the home we lived in just so that I could be close to Vicky, my across-the-street neighbor who became one of my dearest friends, and prayer buddies. The girls had wonderful playmates, and for the 7 months that followed we made it; by God’s grace, we made it!

THE 7 STAGES OF GRIEF There really are 7 stages in grieving. I am certain all of them came to me, if not one at a time, sometimes all at once!  And I wrote through them all; denial, pain and guilt, anger, depression and loneliness, the upward turn, and finally HOPE! God reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

What did I write about?

At first; anger, hate, denial, frustration, hopelessness, pain, guilt, depression, sadness, loneliness, desperation, and resentment.

Then later; my children, my childhood, happy memories, faith, beauty, God, a future, and HOPE!

I realized yesterday, that what I began writing in 2006 has evolved into the culmination of around 140 poems, maybe more. In the fall of 2007, I took a Poetry class here at The Florida State University. After having been out of college since 1984, going back was a shock and so much fun! By the way, I made an A in my class. Since then, some of my work has been published here, here, here, HERE, and HERE!!!!! I also realized that in 2010, I only wrote one poem. For the most part, the healing is complete. The writing has subsided, if not all together ceased.

The Muse My muse has left me for now. Healing became my art; I became a poet. God’s grace IS sufficient; MORE than sufficient!

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