Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mary Ann's One Little Word for 2017

from my art journal, January 1, 2017 (gesso, water based markers and crayons, pencil, digital remix)


2016 saw the loss of my husband, my partner, the father of our child. It felt as if one minute we were planning a holiday to Maine and the next I was planning a funeral. I would like nothing more than to say that 10 months later, I am all healed, but that simply isn't true--no matter how much I might have once wished it to be so. 

My one little word for 2017 is heal. It is a word that represents both goal and process. To heal means to restore to health. It derives from the Old English word, hǣla, which also means to make whole. 

I am more parts than whole. 


Sometimes this loss feels like an amputation. There is an emptiness that (in)forms my life--deep holes I cannot seem to fill. I know Rob is dead and yet I find myself anxious to get home at the end of a work day. For decades, I arrived home with the certain knowledge that my husband would be there. My voice would ring out expecting to hear his answering call. My body would anticipate meeting his body. My eyes would seek his above the edge of the newspaper he was lowering. There is no getting over such a loss. 

I am lost.


Nothing about grief is simple or straight forward save the way sorrow rises up and strikes unexpectedly. Friends ask how I am doing and having just gotten through the holiday season, our 26th wedding anniversary, and each of our birthdays in the span of 6 weeks, the most I can say is that I know where my feet are and I am standing. Some days this is enough.   Now that the shock is mostly gone and acceptance is more the norm, I can feel how worn out I am, how emotionally spent I feel. It has been such a long 16 months.

I am weary.


Within such turmoil there are moments where the rich life Rob and I made across these last few decades is revealed.These noticings surprise and comfort as they show newer understandings of love--ones I could not have known had it not been for my marriage and this loss. 

Love steadies. It steadies the oscillating nature of grief and shows me the resiliency within.

I am mending.


Heal--my one little word for 2017. A word I can return to again and again as I work through the pain and dislocation of heart and spirit. That's it. Just heal. And frankly, that is enough.


  1. I've been following your journey, Mary Ann, with such admiration. You have grieved openly and yet with such unflinching courage and fortitude. Heal seems the right word for where you are in your journey - there is something both aspirational and hopeful in that word for you.

    1. Thank you Tara. Yes heal is multidimensional and is: aspirational and hopeful. A most blessed new year to you and yours.

  2. I admire your honesty in this post. Healing may not be that easy, but the good news is, it is possible. Praying for your complete healing in Christ.

    Psalm 147:3
    He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

    Christian counselor


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