I can’t get my arms around August…there was so much loss I felt during that month. My heart is holding a great deal of what I have left behind but will never be forgotten.
I can’t get my arms around the loss of my dear dachshund Ashley who left us in August. Little did I know that my balance would be affected when my legs weakened and my knees buckled as I cradled her lifeless body in my arms on the way home from the Vet’s office. We buried her in our yard near a spot she traversed every day. My mind knew it was time to let her go but my heart and body knew differently. My tears were emptied onto Ashley’s face and head as we lowered her into the ground. My tears drained me of substance, leaving me feeling lost with no direction.
I can’t get my arms around the loss of making the decision to leave a ministry I had served in and been involved with for 25+ years. There is so much goodness in those years gone by; likewise there is much to grieve. A web of sorrow has attached itself to my heart as I think back over those years. There are relationships that I have lost, and there are others that remain. In this tender place I find my heart is in a sacred space that needs kindness and care. This is a place I am aware that evil can feel consuming. This is the scared space that I need for the loving kindness of God. This is the space I want to offer my “No” as protection for my heart to hold my boundaries. This space of loss and letting go requires honor.
I can’t get my arms around a month of parties here on our patio with local and distant friends. I loved the entertaining and gaiety of it all; yet try as I might to set aside my losses, I sensed a fragile uncertainty of what the future holds. It is as simple as my lake friends departing for the season. They are a wise older couple from Texas who bring such fun and security in my life and now they are gone. Similarly, my close relationships that are plotting a course in the land of unknowns and waiting for God’s more.
I can’t get my arms around these losses because they are the ones that feel so life-giving to me.
They are the ones that breathe comfort, encouragement and creativity into my life. These losses feel like death to my heart. I have buried myself into the “pretending” mode of “I can gut my way through.” I don’t want to do that any longer.
I’m looking into September as a chance for me to rest and an invitation to grieve. I am giving myself permission for honest conversations with God…I can’t pretend any longer. My losses have awakened my heart to the tenderness and delicacy of life…including my own. Quite honestly, these losses have taken my breath away. I need time to breathe in the gift that Ashley and ministry were in my life. I need to breathe in the goodness of the relationships that remain.
My time is now…what about for you?
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.
My heart feels the heaviness of your August and the hope of September. I am sorry especially for the loss of Ashley. I’m praying that in the spaciousness of the new month you find a time and place for grief and joy, remembrance and renewal. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Thank you,,Susan. I miss my little dog.and the grief comes in waves. I’m looking for the renewal as well. Your words are such an encouragement filled with kindness. My journey continues…
It is hard…so hard, I have tried to avoid it most of my life. It hasn’t worked out well. Thank you for sharing.
Yes, my friend…it is hard. I know all too well how avoidance works…for awhile. My hope is that you will take time to start the process for yourself. My heart is heavy for you and I will hold your heart close to mine.
Your words articulate my heart and help me to move into grief and healthy mourning. Your words regarding your ministry have been especially touching and have opened up some new ways to think about my own life.. Thank you, your words go deep..
Thank you, Sheila for your kind words. I’m encouraged that something new may open up for you in your life. My hope is that your heart continues to resonate with the goodness that God has in store for you…
Dear Mary Jane, My heart wants to scream NO!! NO!!
And I want to honor your “No” boundary.
My heart grieves with you and for you.
I will miss you. Sadly, Valerie
Hey Valerie…I’ve had a few screaming moments myself…and I am resting in the place I am in today. It has been a hard few weeks. I will miss you as well…carry on…love, MJ
Beautifully written post on loss and the butter sweetness of change. I am feeling the changes too-it’s helpful to read it through someone else’s perspective. We are not alone.
Hello Ruth-Anne…you are definitely not alone. My heart is with you. There is nothing’s like change to notice the bitter sweet in life. Blessing to you on your journey!
Please continue your writing. Don’t deny the gift God has given to you. I know no one who can be as open and honest and share your totally naked truths the way you can. It has helped me tremendously to admit my faults and accept my short comings Courage my dear friend is what you possess. I treasure your every wise word.
Hello to my dear Texas friend…thank you for your encouragement. I am honored to think that you have been helped by me. I miss your presence here. I miss our “girl” talks. I miss you! I will continue to write even on those days I feel so empty! Love you, MJ
So blessed to read this and know you. Have had to say goodbye to many pets so I grieve with you…but harder for me is to grieve my children and 5 grands overseas. Sometimes I just drive and listen to my so gospel music and cry. No one really understands and I do not want to explain. Sometimes I feed my pain but that does not work. Thanks for the beautiful words and sharing heart🙂
Oh Judy…so good to hear from you. I know you do understand the loss of my pet and I appreciate that about you. My heart aches for you as I think about the distance between you and 5 of your grandchildren. No explanation needed…grieving leaves such a level of exhaustion…how can you talk about it? I love that gospel music is that avenue that brings the tears so necessary for your grieving. I so get feeding the pain….I love you my distant friend. Seems like yesterday we were raising those wonderful kids of ours. Those memories make me smile…
Dear One, Thank you for sharing these places in your heart. The gift that you give us in the raw and the real is priceless. May you find much space to process and be and to grieve loss and hold hope for what is on the horizon. Your example is an inspiration even in the very hard. Especially there. Hugs and love.
Dear Julie…I so appreciate the kindness of your words. These past few weeks have been hard ones. I feel the word “raw’ in my heart. Grief has caught me off guard and it will take time. Thank you for your reminder of hope…love, MJ
Dear friend ~ you have given so long and so much. You have loved so many so well. You have blessed and you have sacrificed. Now you grieve over pieces of your life that have been filled with pain and loss ~ moving to fill your days with care and kindness. You’ve created a life of honor and integrity. Thank you friend for all the goodness you have offered me ! Keep dancing Mary Jane!
Lady Elaine…your kind words speak to my heart this morning. Thank you! I so appreciate the places your life has been a part of mine. What a journey…! This next phase will take time for me to settle in and to rest. The past few weeks have been hard ones and I’m breathing into them each day. And, yes, I will keep dancing…love, MJ
I’m right there with ya. I will be 62 next week and am feeling as though all of life has whizzed past leaving nothing but loss. I will keep you in my prayers. We too have a doxie, long-hair named Sadie and she is the love of our lives, i’m so sorry for your loss. They are special pups.
Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. My heart goes out to you as I think about all the losses you have had over the years. I’m so glad you have Sadie…love her up all you can and enjoy that sweet dachshund smell. Blessings to you…love, MJ
Hit post before I finished. We moved 4 years ago and the Lord has not sent friends to help with the loss of the ones I left behind. Feeling that very much right now. Feeling much as you are about life. God bless you and thank you for this.♥
Thank you, Leslie for finishing your post with Sadie tucked in your arms. I am so sorry that friends haven’t come your way after you move. That is really hard. I trust you will take the time you need to care for yourself and to find kindness in doing so. Love, MJ
You are so kind, thank you very much. ♥
Your current you naming these losses speaks volumes to my heart. All of your writing that ended with your dachie in the lap. The presence of absence must feel very stark indeed.
Know that your ministry has profoundly marked my journey. I am so grateful.
Thank you, my friend. Today I am missing my dachie on my lap…yes she was always there. I appreciate your kind words and your expression of gratitude. Just what I needed for this moment. Love, MJ
Thank you for naming these griefs and giving words to things I have felt as well. We left the mission field ten years ago! We served in Honduras for 4 years and returned broken and grieving. Slowly, we have healed. And your words help name those movements in my soul. Also, holding sorrow and joy together can be a very precarious endeavor! Thank you for your courageous and vulnerable words. I am so sorry for the loss of Ashley. Part of our grief was losing a yellow lab named Bravo. May God bring peace and comfort.
Thank you for your kind words…bless you for your faithfulness on the mission field. My heart aches for what that has cost you in your own heart. I’m grateful my words were helpful for you. I’m holding the joy and the sorrow each day…some better than others. I’m so sorry for your loss of Bravo…I love labs almost as much as dachshunds. Blessings to you, my dear one, your words have soothed my heart💗
My heart is aching (and my eyes leaking) for you all over again as I read this. Loss upon loss, and all worthy of much grieving. I so loved the tender way you spoke to and about Ashley, and can only imagine the sorrow as you mourn her. I so love that you cradled her in your arms and brought her home, to a familiar place. And then I have to admit I felt my own grief at the realization that you will no longer be in the same ministry – a kind, life-giving person who always loved me well in that space. I am so very grateful that our friendship remains beyond ministry. Much love to you, Mary Jane!