A week or two ago, a beautiful dove built a nest in a palm tree next to my house. It was nestled in a space where a palm frond had been, and there she sat on two white eggs. None of the activity of the house scared her away – lawn mowing, power washing the house, the pool generator. That mother dove centered herself on her nest in a tranquil and protective state as she waited for her eggs to hatch. She brought peace and optimism with her.
My significant other –my love partner – and I would go outside and quietly observe this beautiful and peaceful scene several times a day. It had special significance to us because it symbolized hope and new beginnings. He took wonderful pictures of “our” dove in her nest and I published them on Facebook with a note about the meaning that a dove brings to life. Those pictures touched the hearts of many, including my granddaughters who thought they were “awesome.”
Last night there was a much needed and welcomed rainstorm here in Florida. This morning, with coffee in hand, I went outside to visit the dove to see how she did after the rain. My heart was jolted when I saw that the storm had torn away the nest from the tree and the dove was nowhere to be seen. There on the ground were the remnants of the mama bird’s nest and the two white eggs, one of which was broken. I wept in sorrow and in loss.
Before I went out this morning to visit the dove’s nest, I signed onto my computer to visit a site called “Open to Hope” to see if a piece I sent them as a contributing author was published (it came out today, April 21). The piece, a poem, was written in 2009 two months after my husband Marty passed away. It is titled “The Storm” and the words continue to have meaning to me. The storm swept away the life I had for 42 years, and I was left with no choice but to slowly rebuild a new one. Just as the dove will no doubt find another tree to build a nest in and patiently wait for her eggs to hatch, the loss of this nest will not stop her from “going on”. I’m not sure what to make of this moment ~ maybe to remember that storms occur in every living creature’s life – and that survival and rebuilding one’s proverbial nest (life) is the key.
My journey since my husband’s death and that devastating “storm” has taken me on a winding road of countless steps. After a summer rainstorm, what very often follows is the sweet smell of renewal in the air. The tears I shed during my times of grief stirred something different and promising within me, but to love again seemed unfathomable. In the past three years I have experienced a newfound sense of purpose through writing and artwork; an awareness of my own spirituality; and a sweet and gentle love for a man who has swept into my heart in the most unexpected way.
When an annual flowering plant ceases to blossom and withers away, leaving an empty space in its place, in time something magical occurs. After a period of nurturing and regrowth in the earth, the plant slowly resurfaces and reaches to the heavens in full bloom and renewal. A quote by Walter Anderson that sits on my computer desktop reminded me today “I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” Walter Anderson
written by Laurel D. Rund on 4.12.09
As the thunder rolled and signaled danger,
we kept fighting our way through
the confusing maze of gathered facts,
disappointments, setbacks, and fear.
As you disappeared inch by inch, pound by pound,
I averted my eyes to avoid what I was seeing.
And closed my ears to what I was hearing.
Your lovely smile was fading and
your magnificent presence was disappearing
in the midst of our denial.
Then, lightning struck!
It was sharp and jagged and
it crackled and tormented our very beings!
We ran for cover, seeking protection from
the onslaught to come.
But, there was nowhere left to hide.
The zig-zag of harsh light
made us open our eyes, our souls,
to the understanding that we had finally run out of time.
Frightened, yet quietly relieved, we surrendered to the inevitable.
After the storm, your spirit was gently released,
and for you my darling,
the rainbow beckoned and a new passage began.
Our journey together came to an end.
As “We” ceased to be an “Us,”
I was left waiting for the clouds to retreat
and for a sliver of hope to emerge.
For now, there is a deafening silence.
Dedicated to my husband Martin Rund who passed away on February 11th, 2009Tags: believing in renewal, getting to the other side of grief