Sitting with Grief

by em jollie

Safety is the doorway through which Grief was able to enter my house. Now she sits, a wise old woman reclining in the worn wooden chair across from me. I watch as she patiently mends a story written in the language of thin threads and tiny glass beads. Although her hair and face are gray, the work she lays across the kitchen table in front of me is multicolored. An hour ago, on this same table, I slammed my hand down on top of the beadwork books Bill brought for me and raged: My grandmother should’ve been able to teach me how to do this work. But the anger was only defense, glitzy clothing for the body of my sorrow. I shook my head and quietly repeated: My grandmother should’ve been able to teach me these skills, this language. Trace caught my eye and broke the silence: she is teaching you. Now, Trace and Bill have gone, leaving only the ghosts of my grandmothers and Grief to keep me company. Once, Grief followed me, lingering like a spurned lover, but now I make her welcome. Safety is the doorway through which she entered. In turn, after I have sat with her through enough breath and tears, she shows me the design she has been quietly weaving this whole time in Yellow, Red, Black, White and Turquoise. The whisper of my fingers brushing over the beaded surface sounds like my grandmother’s laughter, and the pattern looks like a map to the room called Joy. As I glance up to ask what it means, Grief opens the gate and invites me to find my own dancing way into it.


Journal, Volume 2 Issue 3