Now the green blade rises from the buried grain. Love lives again. — John M.C. Crum, 1928


Green Blade Rising: Reflections on Grief and Belief

These little essays are not in chronological order. It may, indeed, seem that they are not in any order at all. Whatever logic of arrangement there is, is intuitive and idiosyncratic. Since the organizing principle is unknown even to myself, you may feel free to read at random. I wrote them because I discovered that there is much material on the “death and dying” process, but very little about what comes after for those who survive to live on into grief and grieving. Material from a first-person point of view is rarer still. What does exist tends to be from a clinical point of view, written flor counselors and clergy who deal with the bereaved.
It was healing for me to write my experiences after David’s first death on August 4 and those that followed throughout his week first in ICU and then hospice and his second death on August 9. David and I were married for thirty-five years, so the hole his death made in the fabric of ray being was extensive. He was a gifted teacher, writer, poet, and pastor. He had many abilities, but his biggest gift was the ability to love all kinds of persons, and love them well – including me. I rniss him more than I can ever say.
My intention was more than simply journaling, I was hoping to create “provocations” for others who were in the midst of their own mourning. I have, therefore, employed a phenomenological approach. Meaning, I have recorded my lived impressions, emotional reactions, sensory inputs as I experienced them as faithfully as I am able (the “Grief’ selections), and then, afterward, reflected analytically on the inherent meanings (the “Belief ‘ portions). My interpretive framework is that of a Christian clergyperson, but I hope that those who do not share my particular biases may find here something useful for understanding their own grief and encouragement for growing through and beyond their grieving.
Each entry has four components. The first is an account “in the moment.” The second is a set of “prompts” which are intended to elicit the reader’s own reflection and action. T’hird, because poetry is the condensed and powerful speech of the spirit, I have included a piece of poetry written from inside my grief. Finally, each segment concludes with an analy’tical discourse on some of the themes raised in the personal narrative section. In a small scope, I have thus sought to address heart, spirit, and mind.
A word of explanation about some of the poetry – certain pieces are inspired by the work of Kenneth Goldsmith, an advocate of oofound” poetry. Goldsmith views poetry in much the same way as visual artists viewed collage in the early years of the 20th Century. With respectful acknowledgement, I
offer my own pieces of found poetry. The first of these is “The Bag II.”
Mostly, I hope to engage you, the reader, to tell (or write) your own experience of grief and grieving. By telling our stories we come to understand our experience; by looking backward to our past, we are enabled to move forward into our future.
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