The Flowery Pit

Rebecca’s post here a month or two ago sent my mind wandering into yet another metaphor…again I will apologize in advance for my perhaps overuse of this device. It just seems to be one of the ways I deal with the grief; it’s how my mind works, trying to find a way to make sense of it all.


She was writing about her trip to Bali and a subsequent restful time with her sister and nephews, all around the eternal presence of her grief…I thought at once of grief as being this deep dark pit, with flowers growing around the edges…


The pit of course we all know. In the early days we feel like we are in the pit, screaming our wild, mad agony, scraping the walls with our fingernails, desperate for an escape from the dank, terrifying and lonely place. 


As time goes on we slowly edge our way out and collapse at the edge, exhausted and blinded by the sun we had forgotten still shined, day after day, even above clouds of rain, oblivious to our personal pain and torment.


Some days we fall back in again. This can happen anytime, I find, even without warning, no matter how much time goes by. I have friends widowed for ten years who tell me how raw their pain is, still, some days. Sigh.


I have worked very hard to keep myself from being swallowed up by the pit every day anymore, but it is always there, taunting; that dangerous cavernous void with its evil, fanged maw that feeds on our vulnerability and wants nothing more than to suck us back in.


But the flowers? The flowers are the lovely bits we plant or find growing around the pit and nurture over time. These are our our family, our friends, things to look forward to, a new opportunity, a success or moment of joy; they feed on any feeling of peace or love that overcomes us for any reason in this after-life.


I see it in my mind’s eye. I see a meadow of springtime flowers with a verdant forest in the background, but off into the back corner of the landscape is a menacing shadow. It is mostly hidden by color and light from where I am standing…but it is there.


I lose focus on the flowers for a moment and see only the shadow. I feel myself slipping suddenly, pulled forcefully to the rim of the crater as if by invisible ropes, my arms out to find balance as I teeter on the edge, trampling a few of the stems and petals.


Then just as suddenly I right myself, call down into the void that it can not have me this time, my words and intention creating the strength and power over it that were, only a few seconds ago, only wishful thinking.


I take advantage of this moment of strength, whisk myself back out to the foreground of this vision, push the shadow to the side again and concentrate on the flowers. I know I cannot make the pit disappear forever, and indeed, the sulfurous stink often lingers in the background. But I can continue to tend the flowers and their more pleasant aroma. The pit tries to scar my meadow by dragging me back time and again, but it cannot reach out and pluck the the buds from my fingers. They are, each day, becoming stronger and more embedded in the soil of my new life.


Showing 4 reactions

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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2015-08-31 21:02:27 -0700
    Hi Morgan…thank you for commenting. It’s a very difficult road to trod for sure. I’m glad you are coming to Widow’s Voice. It’s a great community to share and support and know none of us is alone, though it often feels that way. I’m so deeply sorry for your loss.
  • indie
    commented 2015-08-31 19:10:43 -0700
    Very well written.
    I am not able to tend the flowers much. I spend more of my time being pulled by the invisible ropes. And the ropes can be anything. Anything at all. I’m tired and weak. I see the sunshine and flowers and know I could its just that I don’t want to. It’s just too much to plant in the new soil. Too much energy that I just don’t have anymore.
  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2015-08-27 22:38:44 -0700
    Yes…I am so grateful for our group and all the support and inspiration we share. Thank you Rebecca.
  • Rebecca Collins
    commented 2015-08-27 22:21:14 -0700
    I have only just gotten around to reading this and what a beautiful metaphor you’ve described. I’m so honored to have inspired you :)