Standing Still and Moving On

by - June 02, 2011

Seventeen years is a long time, and will only grow longer.

 edited excerpts from my journal dated June 6, 1994:

Today was the funeral.  There must have been 100 sprays of flowers, the casket closed, surrounded by pictures of you in happier days.  It all looked so dignified, and I was dying inside.  Can I say that?

In the airplane, flying to you, I remember the accidental recording of the phone call from my accident so long ago, the sound of Wayne scrambling up the stairs, yelling, "Jeff!  Jeff!  Dawn's been hurt!"  The echo growing faint in the recorder's distance.  But I now somehow hear it strangely different, "Dawn!  Dawn!  Jeff's been hurt!" 

In that plane, I wished it were me.

When we got here, the house was deathly quiet.  Now I know what deathly quiet is.  It is a silence that suffers great sorrow and screams out its pain to an unfair world of life and death that refuses to give us back our loved ones.  And time seemed to stop once Mom, Wayne and I found each another's embrace. 

"It's better this way," Wayne offers.

I look at Mom, "He's gone?!"

"He's gone."

Is there another way to get this news?  I am breaking apart.  I hear a wild animal in the night, and it's me.

The three of us held each other up, cry:  we were always more collectively than alone, each weaker now without him.   Time stood still for me, and I wonder if that is indeed what eternity is like, the difference being the bad that is so horrifically bad that it stops time being replaced with good that is so achingly good that time will stand still. 

Does Jeff stand still even now?  As we do?  Because we do?  Is Jesus watching?  Right there with him?
This morning at 4 am, the very time of the accident just four days ago, the heavens opened, and rain filled all time and space.  It woke me and made me feel release.  Hot, tender emotion cooled by sweet rain.  I lay still in the guest bed, a stranger in my old room and in my own skin, with rain slipping down my windows.  I had forgotten Mississippi rain.  Its sound sings somber, harmony to my grief.  Some part of me flew away, free.

The rain stopped but the day stayed grey, as if in mourning, and I was glad.  — I was glad.

I did not want this day to come.  I cannot lay him down.
                         *               *              *
No one ever wants to intrude on someone's grief.  No one did, but I had a need to get it out, and journaled these words when night fell on the day I did what I couldn't do:  I layed him down.  Some seventeen years later, the hole in my heart remains, only grass has now grown over the grave. It is soft, and green, and lush with life because time has a wonderful way of not standing still.

Wayne, Mom, Jeff in happier days

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  1. The recording of your grief strikes a cord with all of us who have layed someone down. Someone so young and full of life. Hollow is a good word for it ...and you are right the hole doesn't go away.

  2. "Time has a wonderful way of not standing still..."

    I think this one phrase will preach to my heart for a long while.

    Thank you for sharing your journal with us. It's a helpful re-telling for my heart.


  3. Absolutely beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss!

  4. Dawn - I do not have the words to say - the tears are flowing too freely down my cheeks and making a splash in my lap. The pain of losing Jeff will never leave - just as you said, the hole in your heart remains. I only know I want to say to you that you are a beautiful woman and Jeff's spirit lives within you. Your writings are just beautiful and leave me speechless.......but leave my heart full of love and admiration for my wonderful niece. I love you to pieces - always remember that! Auntie Donna


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