The Iridescence of Grief

mum's ring

Good morning all. Today’s writing prompt touches on the subject of grief – wrapped up in a warm hug.

The image below is of my mum’s favourite ring. When she passed it was the one piece of jewellery, I wished to keep for myself as a reminder of her. My memories are filled with images of her wearing this ring and whenever I wear it, I feel completely connected to her as though she is actually in the room with me. I have always been drawn to the iridescence in shells, crystals and other materials. As a child, I used to hunt Scottish beaches for mother-of-pearl or any shell with colours that looked vaguely similar to the Pāua shell.

The Maori believe the Pāua shell brings connectivity and harmony to relationships. They believe the shell strengthens the body and the heart of the wearer. With a stronger heart and body, the person is thought to be able to communicate their feelings more clearly. Very apt for my mum. She was brought up in an orphanage with her brother and I think she longed for that sense of connection, harmony and a sense of ‘home’ more than any of us realised. Very apt that I should feel so connected to her when I wear it.

I remember a few months after mum had passed, my brother and sister and I entered my mum’s room and studio with a kind of sacred ‘reverence’ to go through the painful task of sorting through her belongings. Her room had always been out of bounds, so I found myself apologising profusely to her as we began opening cupboards and prying into her private world. However, it wasn’t so much prying and painful – as deeply healing and connecting – there was even laughter. We laughed when we found an assortment of shells and rocks in her pockets or stashed in various places. We held them knowing she had held and loved them too. Mum loved nothing more than hunting those same beaches for washed-up treasures. We were all connected with her – and each other – in that shared memory.

Flash forward a few years and the connection theme runs deeper than ever when you consider the logo and wordmarks designed for Write from Source.  The brief was to use metallics, teal, silver, gold and green to embody connection to source but Bumbumbee Creative took that brief to the next level. Given the talent behind Bumbumbee is my sister – could it be she was inspired by the Pāua shell too?  It’s almost as if our mum somehow connected us again – united us through our work – bridging the distance that separates us in life and death. Beautiful connection don’t you think?

All this musing led me to think about today’s expressive writing exercise.

I was thinking about the way grief focusses our mind on the ‘moments’, the relationship, the connection – and how even though they can be a source of immense – almost unbearable pain – in the early days, these connections become something of beauty in time – almost iridescent in nature. Through writing, it is possible to focus on the memories we have and look at them from different perspectives so that we might find the joy and the healing in them. Writing this post made me smile after all. It brought my loved ones to mind. We can all bring our loved ones to mind through words, and in turn, they themselves will bring a smile to our eyes, lips and heart once more.

Writing Prompt

When do you feel most connected to the person you are grieving?
Is it a smell or an occasion? Perhaps it’s a piece of jewellery?
Are you able to put down on paper the thoughts and feelings that come up for you?
If it’s too painful, are you able to write about the memory from the perspective of someone or something else?
Imagine you are an onlooker or imagine writing from the viewpoint of the piece of jewellery itself.
What would it say?

Immerse yourself in the experience and allow your writing to take you wherever it leads. Keep these words in your journal and come back to them from time to time. You will see your words change when seen from different angles too.

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