My husband’s death left me with tears and longing, but Nature soothed me. I walked the trails of my land and felt supported during the hardest transition of my life. Like the first crocus of spring or the last Monarch butterfly in October, beauty and hope broke through grief’s darkness when I least expected them. Nature was my guide.
I had read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but this and other grief systems didn’t help me. Monique Cerundolo’s book Seasons of Grief and Hope: A reflective journey through quilts and poetry made immediate sense because it’s a reflection and a grief ritual based on the natural cycles of the seasons. I’m writing about this book now because Monique Cerundolo’s quilts and poems will be exhibited in early November (see details below).
Monique’s poems of grief and hope led me through dark impassable ravines and the “silence of the stars.” And then on to hope and love. Along with poems and inspiring Biblical quotes, Monique illustrates the grief journey with her own intricate and original hand-made quilts created in honor of her dear friend’s death.
Seasons of Grief and Hope begins with Winter and ends in Rising Anew. To quote the author, “We don’t get ‘over’ grief, we have to get ‘through’ it by acknowledging and sharing our feelings, remembering, recognizing our loss, reflecting, expressing our sorrow, reaching out to others and re-orienting our lives.”
In Winter in a poem called “Grief,” Cerundolo writes:
It’s dark inside.
No one can walk
This way with me.
Not even God.
In Summer from the poem “Yearning”:
Bird song greets the sun
Waking me to joy
Sadness seems out of place
In the midst of all this bliss.
A part of me
Has gone with you,
A part of you
Lives on in me.
Seasons of Grief and Hope holds both beauty and loss together, just as nature does.
I hold the smell of woods,
The sound of rivers,
The song of birds,
And lost tears running
On flushed red cheeks.
Monique Cerundolo’s work will be featured as the “Special Invitational” exhibit at A Quilter’s Gathering, Nov. 6-9, 2014, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Monique Cerundolo is a chaplain, an artist, and a poet who was born in Uruguay and works as an Interfaith Staff Chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her poems and quilts have been presented in many venues and were part of her artistic Masters synthesis in Pastoral Ministry at Boston College. After her first exhibit, she was urged to share her insights in her book of quilts and poems, Seasons of Grief and Hope.
I promised a blog about the pyramid installation on my land the weekend after the launch of Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief. I haven’t forgotten, but wanted to share this timely news about Seasons of Grief and Hope. A Book Launch, an Engagement, and a Pyramid is about my family’s ability to celebrate together and turn a book release into so much more. For another family extravaganza, see The Day before the Wedding: Chop, jive, and remember the missing and Sunshine on the Wedding.