Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#SOL16: Portal

Rob in Ireland. 


In Marie Howe's poem, Gate, she opens by writing:

"I had no idea that the gate I would step through  
to finally enter this world 
would be the space my brother's body made."

I tasted the sounds those perfect words made in my mouth--felt the immediacy that living demands. Like Howe who suffered the loss of her brother, I too know certain grief, and what such loss prompts the battered soul to do. For loss is both a gate that opens us to this moment, to the here and a burden we shoulder through the days.

Howe teaches us that we have only the present moment.


The space my husband's body made as his soul soared and his life here bowed was more a passageway than an end. I did not know that at the moment.  But it was a gate to walk through and now, months later I am here, in a place I might not have come to without his death.

This is a space made by love--made by loss.


What has taken shape before me is a new place of competence and uncertainty, of limits and possibilities. Across the last 15 months, I have grappled with choosing to live, not merely exist.

Who am I without him?
Who have I been?
Who won't I be?

I am no longer wife.
I am no longer RobandMaryann.
I am undefined from the ways I have known and yet, I am oddly hopeful.


What becomes possible after deep love and loss are newer ways of being in the world. Newer ways of coming to name what is essential and what is merely interesting.

I promise you--whatever it is you fear the most will announce itself after the death of your most beloved. Whatever you most fear will come knocking at that open gate seeking entrance. And understand this, you will be the better for it, if you bid it welcome. This is a time when courage has your name written all over it.

Let it in.


There are gates--portals before us and to seek them requires sacrifice.  To walk through such gates is to know immense loss and promise; to know each and still feel your breath against the back of your hand.


  1. Agreed and we carry more than the memories . We have been transformed by deep love and that's how we move forward .

  2. Most often in these years without my husband, I know that all the years with him have given me the courage to keep on, Mary Ann. He wouldn't want it any other way, and so I do what I must to make this new kind of life. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

    1. Thank you so much Linda. I find what you have to say so encouraging. Rob would not want me to suffer or live languidly. Writing helps so.

  3. I love the wisdom of Linda's response - especially because I know that in the making of this new life she has found purpose, and even joy.

    1. Wisdom is exactly right and I am in such need of it. Purpose and joy would be welcomed.

  4. People we love continue to shape us. Amazing.

    Also, I love the art at the top of your page.

    1. Wendy thanks for both comments. Appreciate each.


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