Monday, March 28, 2011

Alone Together

Being in Florida felt in many ways like an escape from our lives.  A life that had only recently become nearly unbearable.

I found myself marveling sometimes at the idea that all of these strangers we encountered (including the lovely Canadians)--none of them had any idea that we were bereaved parents, grieving the loss of our baby girl.  From the outside, we look so ordinary.  Typical tourists going to ballgames, walking along beaches, riding roller coasters.  At this point, looking at us from the outside, nobody knows what we have lost and how empty we feel.

I vacillate between feeling separate and alone, apart from everyone else in the world, and then recognizing that everyone hurts (sing it, R.E.M.) and this kind of pain is sort of an initiation into being human.

As much as I hate it, as much as I still want to rage and scream against it, we are learning to live with it.  To find laughter and pleasure around and in between the sadness.  The hardest part is believing that I can do that without feeling like I'm moving further away from her.

And I came across this poem, which said everything I was feeling:

Those who are near me do not know that you are nearer to me than they are
Those who speak to me do not know that my heart is full with your unspoken words
Those who crowd in my path do not know that I am walking alone with you
They who love me do not know that their love brings you to my heart.

-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

I like all of it, but especially that last line.  I came home from vacation to four letters and cards from dear, dear friends of mine.  Allison wrote in hers, "Remembering and loving Eliza," and those four little words filled up my heart.


  1. That poem really does say it all! Thanks for sharing... it's strange to be consumed by something on the inside, yet from the outside, people have no idea!
    Hoping we can find that balance between loving, remembering, and living!

  2. i love love love that poem. i'm going to borrow it if you don't mind. you are so right, it says it all. perfectly.

  3. That poem says it all. Thanks for sharing. I hope your transition from vacay to the real world goes okay. It is hard to carry on like nothing has happened when to us it seems like our world has fallen apart. Hugs and good luck with seeking hubs was in the same boat last year in bio department of his school and fortunately he attained it.

  4. I just went back and read your profile and I thought I remembered you were seeking tenure...I may be wrong. Sorry if I was!

  5. I love the way you described the loneliness of a sadness, as well as that feeling of a common human bond of humanity through emotion. What a beautifully written, insightful post.

  6. That poem is amazing.. and knowing how much you want to fight against every roll of this angry tide is echoed by me.

  7. Thank you for sharing that poem. It is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. It is funny, but my grief and losing Love has done two things for me: 1) it has made me really appreciate poetry like I have never ever done before, and 2) like you said, it has made me a true citizen of "humanity". I'm not sure who said it (maybe it was you?) because it was in a blog I read a while ago, but it said basically that our grief binds us to the rest of the world, as suffering is universal. I find that is so true. I lived in a bubble "before", where bad things only happened to other people. Now I know what suffering is, and I find I am more understanding and empathetic to other peoples experiences. Tragedy hits most of us at some point, and it is because of that that we can find comfort in each other. I am so glad to have found this corner of the blogosphere so we can all comfort each other as we are all going through it together.

    Thank you for the poem.


  8. Thank you for sharing Rabindaranath Tagore's poem here - I felt it strongly. I have had found another 'saying' but a few days ago; 'Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark' which really spoke to me not just about hope more than anything else...

    Thank you for sharing

  9. I was brought here by searching the poet you quoted... it's so beautiful, tells everything... thank you.

  10. I came here while searching for the quote from Tagore, that you have mentioned above, then started reading your blog and felt touched. I felt for Eliza like I do when someone from my family died.