Sitting In Silence

Photo by Prasanth Inturi on Pexels.com

One beautiful autumn day, with the golden sun shining through red leaves that waved their way across the sky, I found my husband dead. He was sitting in his favorite recliner: his skin was cold and pale. He passed with such peacefulness, that when death came to take him away, he didn’t have time to uncross his legs.

I won’t go into the tumultuous nature of our relationship, the anger, the bitterness, the resentment. These things were present on both sides during our life together. These are the things I remember because when his life passed, I spent much of my time holding onto the heavy weight of my own regret. What if I could have one more conversation with him? What if I didn’t argue with him the night before? What if we had allowed ourselves the ability to start again, each in our own way in our own lives? I nearly drove myself crazy with the “what ifs.”

For a long time after he died, I felt like I was standing in a shallow pit with the cool ground under my heels inviting me to sit down, to lie down, to sleep. I stayed there in bewilderment as if I had been coerced into that emptiness but I had entered voluntarily. And I knew there was a chance I’d never leave it.

“Stay here,” the darkness beckoned. “It’s safe here.” But I didn’t want to believe the gentle prod of those words.

I tried digging my way out only to discover I was making my prison deeper and deeper until finally, the thin rays of the sun could no longer reach me and I was afraid I would forget the loving embrace of its warmth.

I could have stayed there in that familiar shade. It takes courage to climb out of self-imposed confinement. Many of us, so, so many of us would rather stay imprisoned than travel to the foreign shores of freedom. But everywhere I went, that dark chasm followed me and I didn’t know what to do.

“Sit in silence.” A voice said to me. It was a quiet voice. Quieter than the bitterness of my thoughts and I almost didn’t hear it. And it only spoke once.

I didn’t listen at first. How could I be forgiven for all I had done? But one difficult day, with my soul still sitting in that dark pit, I decided to follow that advice.

“Sit in silence.”

I drove to a park near my house and found a place to sit in my car with the window cracked so I could smell the fresh air.

“Sit in silence.”

I crossed my hands over my heart and breathed. I had never meditated before and I didn’t really know how so I just sat in stillness like the voice said and closed my eyes. Every time a thought came into my head, I imagined a great hand brushing that thought away. I brushed many thoughts away until my mind was as clear and still as a mountain lake and I felt a little better.

And then I went home.

I did this every day for a number of months until I found myself pulling back the claws that held onto my husband’s ghost. I meditated in a place where I could watch the small birds line up on a branch and fluff out their feathers during a snowstorm. I meditated as the rains fell and the geese came back from southern shores. I meditated as the ducklings waddled behind their mother and the squirrels stole sunflower seeds from the bird feeder, filling their cheeks. I meditated without knowing if I was doing it correctly. But I kept going because, during my meditation I found peace from my self-condemnation.

I found my way out of that pit with silence, allowing the emotion to course its way through me, weeping into the quiet corners of my mind until it became a trickle because the only way to get to the other side of an emotion is through it. And through it, I was finally able to leave my husband in that shallow grave so I could escape my prison.

Once I stepped out of the darkness, I stepped out as a different person than I was when I stepped in. Once I shed the shame that kept me from facing the glow of the sky, I saw that the sun was the same, the clouds were the same, the earth was the same, but I was different; I had awakened.

One day, at that same park with the same birds and squirrels, I sat in my car and closed my eyes. I asked my husband to give me a sign that he was near, that he was happy, that he’d forgiven me. I sat in my truck with the window cracked about an inch. I sat there with the palms of my hands facing up and quieted my mind. I heard birds singing and the wind in the trees. Children were playing at a nearby playground.

Thunk.

Something landed in my upturned palm. I jumped a little when I felt it. I thought a large insect had made its way into the car and landed on my hand. But when I looked, it was a seed pod.

Since there were no trees near the vehicle, it took me some time to see where it came from. It had blown from a tree that was across the street and down the road. And somehow, the wind had taken one small pod and flown it directly into my hand. I held it up and saw the tiniest, paper-thin capsule. At the center was a darkened area, just the size of a raindrop holding all the information it needed to make an entire tree.

There in my hand, I held infinity, the limitless energy that never stops in its quest to live another day.

“Sit in silence.”

Three small words that saved my life. I still have that seedpod because it reminds me that there’s always hope for tomorrow and that there’s always forgiveness.

90 thoughts on “Sitting In Silence

  1. A remarkable story, but I’m not surprised. As someone who began “sitting” back in the early ’70s through yoga and continuing on as a Quaker, I’ve experienced and witnessed many wonders in the practice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s been a while. I’m a nurse and it’s been a long year. But I’ve also focused on getting some of my writing published and they don’t like things that have been published before even on a blog. So I have a lot of writing and I’ll be putting it on my blog as soon as it wins something and the copyright returns to me.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. Hi Imdale. Thanks for following my blog. When I turned to your blog I was shaken to read the first line of this post. I’m glad to hear that you escaped your prison and received an amazing gift (literally). I recommend reading The Light Between Us (or perhaps her follow up book called Signs that I haven’t read yet). I just finished reading it a few days ago and it seems fitting that I woke this morning from a significant dream (involving my parents) and then read your post.
    Welcome back to blogging – I look forward to reading your fiction.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow, this was stunningly beautiful and honest and incredible and encouraging. And I like this message “Every time a thought came into my head, I imagined a great hand brushing that thought away. I brushed many thoughts away until my mind was as clear and still as a mountain lake and I felt a little better.”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m still thinking about this, this morning. How, miracles happen and we only know we’re in the position to receive. Otherwise, it may be something that just blew in for no reason. That little seed had a lot to say. love, Debra

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Many years, more years than I care to remember, we lost our infant son at seventeen days old. A story a little too big to go into here. But his birth-date, followed so closely by his death-date each year and I relived it. Relived each day; the few moments we’d had together. Until 24 years later I was in another country staying with my daughter. And I forgot his birth-date that year. I forgot it for nearly a whole week of that particular Nov. I sat and cried, not because I was sad to have forgotten. But they were happy tears. It was a relief. He comes to me now not as that infant but the man he was growing into.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel the same way, my husband comes to see me and we only have happy memories. I’m so happy you have found him after losing him. I feel like the ones who have passed are smiling at us, they want us to be happy. God Bless.

      Like

  5. Sit in silence… This is a powerful post, and oh so inspiring… Sometimes we get so bogged down what ifs it’s hard to find a way forward or out or through
    Thanks for sharing
    ~B

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My story is nothing like yours and everything like yours. Brilliant writing. I feel grateful you came into my orbit. “Sit in Silence”. Indeed, all we really need to know. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. One expression…WOWWWW! Spellbound to the very end. What a powerful testimony of your journey. Your writing is clear. Your story powerful. I’m thankful you heard that small voice and heeded to it and for the change it brought to your life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a nurse and I haven’t posted in a long time because of covid and working double shifts for so many days in a row. I’ve been exhausted all year. I’ve also started writing for publication and they don’t usually allow submissions that have been published on a blog because they want something that hasn’t been published before. But I hope to be back more regularly.

      Like

  8. Goodness, I read this while tears trickled down my cheeks. When you’ve been living with your spouse for so long, you soon forget how precious and loving they were until they are gone. We must never think or say, what if? They know we loved them and that we will always remember them, in the good and bad. One thought though for the living. Do and say what is needed now and don’t wait to live your lives together or postponing a trip together. Life is short and we may have many regrets for not doing it then and there. Do what you want NOW. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m very sorry for your loss. Thanks for your recent likes on my blog posts; they mean a lot coming from you. Your writing is always very well done. And just out of curiosity, are you an INFJ, or have you done the Myers Briggs?

    Liked by 2 people

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