Pieces of Me


Amongst a sea of black and waves of tears, I sat on the hard, wooden pew. My hands were clasped on my lap. My heart beat was resonating all the way to my fingertips. With each beat, my soul rocked forward and back. The mortality of my own life was carried in with the coffin that we all gathered to mourn.

I knew my father would sing. I always knew. But when his voice whimpered, cracked a little, then composed again I did not know how much that would break me. He sat on the stool behind the church organ. He was there to play the hymns and the songs to farewell his friend. My father always plays the organ at church. He always sings. I always sing with him. But this time, my voice gave way to tears instead.

In my scrunched up, wet tissue I caught the tears that fell down my face. Tears that were stained with the makeup from my cheeks. I felt my strength drain. I was the brave one. I was the strong one. I was the pillar. Yet, the concrete heaviness of life and its absolute and inevitable end bore down on me.

In that moment I relinquished myself to faith. I prayed.

red roses

I prayed for the eternity of life. In each prayer that we offered for the friend we gathered to farewell, I shook in resolution of just how quintessential my parents are to me. How despite the reason and the logic that drives me every day, I will never be prepared for their passing.

I prayed for the sixteen year old boy who stood in the pew in front of me. His shoulders cradled by his mother, heaving in sorrow. He now bore the weight of losing his father. In my own twisted selfishness, I prayed that my boys never know what it is like to walk in his shoes. Not for a minute, not for a day.

I prayed for my own mortality. I prayed that life be kind, long and prosperous. And I bowed my head in gratitude for the absolute monument of blessings that I have in my life.

The voice of the priest broke my ceaseless cycle of selfish thoughts, clinging to those who I love in a desperate prayer to keep death away. The priest spoke without hesitation. He spoke with clarity. He spoke without homage to the supernatural or the divine. Instead, he spoke in simplicity about grief.

In grief we are all the same. Grief dissolves the barriers of race. Religion. Sexuality. Politics. Ethnicity. Borders. All that we define ourselves and society with are dissolved in the presence of grief. In grief we mourn, we anguish and we ache, all the same.

red roses

I watched the mother who was holding her son for almost the whole service. Yet there was another mother in the front pew. There sat an eighty-six year old woman. Weathered by life. Sobbing and heaving. Today, she had lost her son. Shattered and in pieces, she didn’t even have the strength to stand as the coffin was carried out on the shoulders of men. Instead, she sunk further into her seat and her shoulders rolled forward as she clenched her arms around her chest in an attempt to contain her grief. When a mother loses her child, she is broken in half. No matter her age.

As I leaned against the doorway into their bedroom that night, I watched my boys sleep. I wondered what grief lay ahead in their lives. Once again I prayed. I prayed that when they face those moments, they relinquish themselves to faith and find hope in humanity. In grief, we are not only the same. We are stripped bare. Exposed and vulnerable. Perhaps it is these dark moments that string together humanity, as one.

  • Beautiful. I am sorry for your loss.
    I have not experienced much death yet, but the thing that always amazes me is the way death brings people together. When my grandparents died, so many rallied around.

  • Such beautiful words, Josefa.I felt like I was there with you. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending much love and hugs …

  • Hayley

    What a beautiful post. Very close to home today – thankyou. My husband is off to a funeral today for a 26yo mate of his, leaving behind a young family. I look over my boys too, praying over them they’ll have the strength through Jesus to face whatever comes their way throughout their life. Such a sad thing for a 16yo to lose his father.

    I’ve been thinking also recently, like you said, about how I don’t feel like I’ll ever be prepared for my parents’ passing. How special for you to have parents that you can feel that way about.

  • LydiaCLee

    Lovely post but so,so sad. And sorry for your loss. Look after yourself.

  • Such a beautiful, but very sad tribute, Josefa. I farewelled someone last week too, and it’s hard not to be grateful that it’s not someone closer to us. So sorry for your loss.

  • Bec | Mumma Tells

    You write so beautiful, Josefa. With such heart. Sorry to hear of your loss. X

  • shari

    Heartfelt. Beautifully so. Sending love x

  • Sending love to you and your family for your loss. Grief does indeed bind us and strip us down, naked. I find it hard to comes to terms with the selfishness that grief is. Our loss. But it is hard to appreciate life in such a moment. Beautiful words Josefa. Just beautiful xxx

  • People rarely think of the pain of older Mums losing their children. No parent wants to ever attend the funeral of their own child.

  • TeganMC

    Your words are beautiful. Sending you love and hugs xx

  • The Plumbette

    Beautifully written post. When we grieve nothing else matters and the people close to us matter most. An older mum losing her son, a wife losing her husband and a son losing a father is just so tragic. May peace and comfort be with the family at this time and with you and your family too.

  • I’d argue that grief does not dissolve all barriers. Because even in grief a true Christian has hope; it’s not the end. It’s not good bye, but rather a moment that will pass before reconciliation occurs.
    Beautifully written Josefa. That poor mother.

  • Wendy Parks

    Such a beautiful post. Grief is a difficult and often misunderstood emotion. Thanks so much for sharing your pain and making grief a little easier to bear. xx

  • Nikki @ Wonderfully Women

    No parent should have to bury their child, my girls will get big cuddles tonight! xx Nikki @ Wonderfully Women

  • I try so hard not to put myself in shoes of people suffering grief, it’s just too sad. Lovely words as usual Josefa, sorry for your loss and for those around you x

  • Emily Morgan

    Wow, seriously sad stuff, and boy, the thought of losing my daughter is – unthinkable. I can’t let my mind dwell on it for an instant, I must think of something else. I wish that we could remember our shared grief in the happier times – perhaps it would make us better human beings towards each other. But then a cynical part of me also thinks, but some people shut others out in their grief and become hard as stones. So maybe there’s no easy answers.

  • As always, a beautifully written post. I’ve only ever lost people to betrayal, not death and I don’t know if it’s the same. I’ve been protected from death by distance and time. Yet, my time, too, will come and I will feel the loss of someone I love. I pray that it won’t be my children.

  • Jessi Glauser

    I have always aimed to live with faith and with intention after loosing my big sister.
    There is nothing to compare it with,but I know I never want my children to ever feel what I did and still do.
    It lives with you,you carry it and in some instances it breaks a family so that it is shattered,never to be whole again.
    Beautiful post,thank you for sharing.

  • Just beautifully written xx

  • Rach

    so incredibly written sunshine xxx sending you big hugs and big love xxx

  • TwitchyCorner

    So many truths, Josefa, you are right. It is not selfish to want to keep those you love close and safe, especially when you are reminded so undeniably.

  • Annaleis Topham

    Must be so hard to bury a child. I hope through you grief you can see the good times and the memories, hug those boys a little tighter xxx

  • Chantel

    Such a beautiful post. Nothing else I say will do it justice xxxx

  • Gorgeous Josefa. Grief is the hardest thing. I often wonder how I will cope losing someone close to me. xx

  • Sophie Allen

    Very powerful post. I still remember my Grandpa’s funeral, how sad it was. I was only 14 so really only thinking of myself. I don;t know how my Grandma did it to be honest.

  • Thank you Josefa. askatoddler.com

  • Rita

    So sad… I went to a funeral like this not long ago. The daughter and the son, both teenagers, were standing in the front of the church with the mother holding them… It was so heartbreaking…

  • So very sad. I lost my own father two years ago. I mourn that my children were too young to know and build a relationship with him. Deepest sympathies for your loss xx

  • Terribly, terribly hard stuff. I think you are right that we can be together, a stripped bare humanity, in these moments. But they can also expose our selfishness and our own fear. It’s completely normal, i think, to pray for our own children, our own selves, in these moments, that we will never experience the enormity of that grief.

    I join with you and pray that instead we can find hope in humanity and openness to others. But it’s so, so hard, all the same.

  • My that was hard to read, Josefa. So very, very sad. x

  • So incredibly hard. I wonder what grief lies ahead for me, and for my children. It’s the only thing that is certain…there will be grief, of one kind or another.

  • Josefa, you capture grief so accurately. You put words to emotions that we all feel but that are so so difficult to describe in words. I love how you write “in grief we are all the same” and “in grief … we are stripped bare”. Your writing is so poetic, it sends shivers down my spine. x

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    lovely Josefa – must have missed before. It feels even more poignant with Nelson Mandela’s passing uniting a world. x

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