Sweetness

Sweetness

Stephen Dunn

Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
   one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac
with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
   has come
and changed nothing in the world
except the way I stumbled through it,
   for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving
someone or something, the world shrunk
   to mouth-size,
hand-size, and never seeming small.
read whole poem here
At a time in my life when it truly seemed I could not bear one more friend receiving another diagnosis, another uncertainty about the lives of those I love, this poem came into my life. Now it has returned to me to help bear the grief of many recent deaths.

With it comes the comfort of feeling heard and understood, of recognizing the shared sorrow so many of us experience as friends and family succumb to illnesses and deaths we cannot protect them from.

often a sweetness/  has come/   and changed nothing in the world/  except the way I stumbled through it – The sweetness for me has been the recognition that since I cannot prevent or cure these illnesses, these deaths, I no longer need to flail against all that goes wrong. With this comes some measure of acceptance that this too is part of life, even when I do not like it or find it hard to accept. If this is part of life, especially death, then perhaps I can let go of my struggles against it and focus on the time I have in the moment with these dear souls.
for a while lost/in the ignorance of loving/someone or something, the world shrunk/to mouth-size,/hand-size, and never seeming small – when I am focused on the sweet innocence of loving in my life, the world is both small and infinitely spacious. The sweetness is there to help me receive the grief that comes, no longer any need for defense.
 
The sweetness “stays just long enough to make sense of what it means to be alive” as Dunn says later in the poem.
How has sweetness entered your life to change the way you’ve stumbled through it?

8 thoughts on “Sweetness

  1. “If this is part of life, especially death, then perhaps I can let go of my struggles against it and focus on the time I have in the moment with these dear souls.” Wise words, dear Jan. It strikes me that even the struggles are part of the life process; for me, sweetness comes when I am patient with myself during the struggles. Thanks for this. Love — Mary Lou

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  2. Facing reality of death in those we love and our own inevitable morality is very hard.
    But as Robert Frost said the three words he knows about life are:”IT GOES ON”
    Also on Monday, September 22, 2014 A Year of Being There

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