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



The Storm

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, 2009

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Laurel D. Rund

Laurel D. Rund

It began in 2009 when a life-changing event transformed me into the woman I am today. Never could I have imagined that the death of my husband of 42 years would take me on a journey through loss and grief to a redefined sense of self. Death, an unexpected teacher, was my transformative metamorphosis. The slow and painful healing process unfolded my creativity and, in what I can only describe as a “new normal,” Essence of Laurel was born. "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." Khalil Gibran My first book, “Emerging Voices” has a purpose ~ to serve as a journal and healing catalyst for anyone who has experienced a loss. The art and poetry within is a testimony as to what can happen when we acknowledge grief in all its forms. It allows for the discovery of a new perspective which will lead you on a journey of self-discovery and renewal. “Art from the Heart” has become my playground; a place where I can tap into my innermost creativity as an inspirational writer and artist. The surprise is that it came at a time when I thought that the next chapters in my life would be lonely; without purpose or passion. Instead I have been given the gift of a renewed sense of life, its possibilities and most importantly, an appreciation for living in the present moment. Our human experience, whether in a crisis or a life transition, continuously gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. We can choose to stay in a place of sorrow and regret, or embrace these life-altering experiences from which we can discover a new way of being. My hope is that my writing and ‘Art from the Heart’ touches and inspires you.

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