Blessing for the Dailiness of Grief

Time's GraceImage: Time’s Grace © Jan Richardson

It’s the dailiness of grief that I find most daunting. Morning after morning I wake into a world that does not have Gary in it. I will never find him making breakfast in the kitchen, waiting to enfold me as we begin the day. I will never sit down across from him at the table. I will never call out to him from my studio as he works in his studio. I will never walk into the house and hear him say, Hello, Sweetheart! I will never walk out of the house with him and move together through this world, these moments, this life in the ways we so loved.

And still, it is in those same moments that grace finds me. It is in those same moments that solace steals in, working its way into the everydayness that can be so daunting but in which love still lives, waiting to enfold me as I begin the day. Sitting itself down across from me at the table. Visiting me in the studio. Welcoming me every time I walk into the house and blessing me every time I leave it. Breathing with me as I find new rhythms, new patterns, new doorways in every single day.

Blessing for the Dailiness of Grief

Sorry I am
to say it,
but it is here,
most likely,
you will know the rending
most deeply.

It will take your breath away,
how the grieving waits for you
in the most ordinary moments.

It will wake
with your waking.

It will
sit itself down
with you at the table,
inhabiting the precise shape
of the emptiness
across from you.

It will walk down the street
with you
in the form of
no hand reaching out
to take yours.

It will stand alongside you
in every conversation,
nearly unbearable
in its silence
that fairly screams.

It will
brush its teeth
with you at night
and climb into bed
with you
when finally
you let go
of this day.

Even as it goes
always with you,
it will still manage
to startle you with
its presence,
causing you to weep
when you enter
the empty kitchen
in the morning,
when you spread fresh sheets
on the bed you shared,
when you walk out
through the door
alone
and pass back through it
likewise.

It is here
you will know it best—
in the moments
that made up the rhythm
of your days,
that fashioned the litany
of your life,
the togethering
you will never know
in the same way again.

But I will tell you
it is here, too,
that your solace lies.
It will wait for you
in those same moments
that stun you
with their sorrow.

I cannot tell you how,
but it will not cease
to carry you
in the cadence that has
forever altered
but whose echo will persist
with a stubbornness
that will surprise you,
bearing you along,
breathing with you still
through the terrible
and exquisite
ordinary days.

—Jan Richardson
from a forthcoming book of blessings

Using Jan’s artwork…
To use the image “Time’s Grace,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

16 Responses to “Blessing for the Dailiness of Grief”

  1. Janell Says:

    Thank you. How did you know I needed this reminder on this day? Abigail turns 13 today and now has lived longer in the grace of grief without her sister than in the years Emily was alive. Thank you, blessings.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Janell, thank you so much for your words today. I’m thinking of Abigail (and you) on her birthday, and sending so many blessings for each of you as you continue to remember Emily and to make a life in the wake of her death. I am grateful for you.

  2. Donna Lenahan Says:

    Thank you so much for A New Layer of Grief and The Dailyness of Grief.
    I have started a file for the time when my husband dies, and these will be ever so helpful to me at that time. I have been sure that that cloud will not have a silver lining, so I will try to line it with such comfort as I can.

  3. AnnLee Earnshaw Says:

    Jan,
    Your words as always, speak to the depth of human experience and at the same time lift that spirit.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      AnnLee, thank you! It’s great to hear from you, and I’m so grateful for your words. Love and blessings to you!

  4. Ruth Atterberry Says:

    Thank you, Jan. Once again.

  5. Marguerite Sexton Says:

    I am simply bereft following the suicide of my beloved son.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Oh, Marguerite, I am so sorry that you know such grief in your life. Know I am sending many blessings for you and also for your beloved son.

  6. Rebecca Golightly-White Says:

    So raw and beautiful Jan. Your work and your words; such a stunning combination. Thank you.

  7. Moe Nieman Says:

    The laundry basket without Terry’s dirty clothes to wash was worse that his least breath. That was a relief after two and a half years but that basket did me in. I still grieve every day I do my own clothes. It has become that little thing that brings me back to the lose.

  8. Jill Says:

    Jan thank you so much for ” Blessings for the Dailiness of Grief”. As always I feel such empathy with all your blessings. Also I love your New Book, such inspiration to so many of us who have lost our loved ones.

  9. Marjie Koons Says:

    Thank you Jan for your words. My daughter gave in to suicide and so the emptiness and loss of those times together occupies corners and silent space that I face. Your words speak to me. May you continue to feel God’s presence as you walk this new life finding your own strength and blessings. Peace, Marjie

  10. Morag Says:

    I find so many points of contact between your journey and mine. My husband died the month after Gary and again and again you have written what I have been thinking. Two nights ago as I wept apparently from nowhere I thought of you and wished you had published a new blessing, and then yesterday there it was…answered prayer. Your blessings assure me both of God’s grace and also that there is another woman treading a familiar path..that I am not alone. Thank you Jan, for the gift that you are.

  11. Laurie Newman Says:

    Jan,
    you have managed so well to express the way grief is visiting me, since my husband, Daniel’s death on July 7. Thank you for that. Sometimes I receive the solace , and sometimes, I don’t.

  12. Roberta bondi Says:

    Jan, I am so sorry your grief is so continuous. You are helping and comforting so many folks in it.

  13. Julia Leed Says:

    Your work has inspired me for years. Your words and drawings are timeless. As a spiritual director I have use your blessings, words and insights to encourage those that I direct.thank you for sharing your gifts with so many of us. I am truly sorry for your loss.

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