Remembering & Grappling with Loss

Photo by Josiah Farrow on

We found out this afternoon that our beloved neighbor passed away. On a day when we Americans remember the lives lost as a result of what took place on 9/11/01, the sudden loss of our neighbor reminded me of the fragility of life and the need to savor every interaction I have with those I love. My wife and children had spoken to Dick just a few days ago; I, sadly, didn’t have a chance to speak to him recently. That’s what I grieve the most: the not being able to have that last conversation, being able to tell him how much I appreciated having him as a neighbor, like the grandfather next door.

For us, it is a loss. For Dick, it is all gain: a reunion with his wife and his first face-to-face with Jesus. We grieve; he rejoices. Life for us goes on in this temporal state; Dick has just begun to taste eternity.

The house next door is deserted tonight. This reminded me of a wonderful poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, my favorite British author, who also penned In Memoriam A. H. H., in which these beautiful words are found: “Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all.” This is where we rest today: grateful that we have loved, and saddened by our loss – a fresh reminder to live each day more deliberately.

The Deserted House – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Life and Thought have gone away
Side by side,
Leaving door and windows wide.
Careless tenants they!

All within is dark as night:
In the windows is no light;
And no murmur at the door,
So frequent on its hinge before.

Close the door; the shutters close;
Or through the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the dark deserted house.

Come away: no more of mirth
Is here or merry-making sound.
The house was builded of the earth,
And shall fall again to ground.

Come away: for Life and Thought
Here no longer dwell;
But in a city glorious -
A great and distant city - have bought
A mansion incorruptible.
Would they could have stayed with us!

Published by thedeepened

I am a lover of words - the way they sing together in neat or sprawling lines upon the page, conducted by the great wordsmiths of all time. The way a sudden turn of phrase or surprising combination of sounds resonates with the deep within me, causing pause: moments of reflection and appreciation that transcend the superficial babblings and paltry visions of the infantile. Here at the deepening ground, it is my intent to make time and space for the reflection, appreciation, and creative imaginings that sustain the human soul.

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