|from my art journal|
Solace is no resting place.
I used to think of solace as a bit of nap--a way to turn off pain by retreating from the world. In the year after Rob's death, I know that solace is more demanding, than not. And I am grateful for that.
David Whyte (2015) writes that solace "is the art of asking the beautiful question, of ourselves, of our world or of one another, in fiercely difficult and un-beautiful moments."
Solace is not a nap, but rather a necessity. It is more a necessity of questioning at moments when life is less like a river flowing and more like deep, thick sludge. What we ask helps us to climb out from the depths we have sunk.
After the loss of my husband, I found myself being healed by asking aloud questions that arose through what I wrote, read, discussed, and painted. Some were:
- How will I bear this loss? How will I bear it today? Tomorrow? Five years from now?
- How is loss a reflection of self? Is it mutable? Transforming?
- How do I get Rob back? What did his life mean? How did I live with him for decades and not see all the beauty of his life while he lived?
- Who am I without him? Where do I begin and end? How have I matured?
- What happened to my future? Is there a future?
- How will loss shape our son?
- Will I be a good enough parent on my own? Will I be enough for him?
- Who will I lean on when our son has troubles and needs help, advice, patience?
- What is the truer nature of love? Does it endure?
- How will I live brilliantly as Rob asked in this world where I know I live temporarily?
Solace is not found by evading questions and hiding away. Solace arises alongside the hard questions we pose and ponder. Whyte concludes that "[s]olace is the beautiful, imaginative home we make where disappointment can go to be rehabilitated."
|Trying to Find Home (M.A. Reilly, 2011)|
and am making
that home here on this blog
and through the paint
I splatter in journals.
I am making that home
when I talk and listen
in a circle of women,
or at dinner with family
I am making that home
each time I step
the nature of this loss.
Whyte, David. (2015). Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. Many Rivers Press. Kindle Edition.