a blessing for all the firsts without a loved one

Oh God, the calendar tells me a big day is coming
and this is the first one in this new reality.
I don’t know how to get through it.

Show me what to do with
the memories, the traditions,
the pain, and the excruciating beauty
of all that was.

Blessed are we who come to you, oh God,
in the midst of grief and loss, fear and longing, irritability and anger,
gratitude and sweet remembrance,
and so much exhaustion.

Blessed are we who say,
God, I don’t know where home is
or who I am now.
Couldn’t I just rest for a while?
I am too tired to feel everything there is to feel. Too exhausted to face the truth.

Grant me solitude enough for solace,
and company enough for comfort,
people to be with who know how to slip quietly
under the burden of this grief
and shoulder it with me without much to say.

Blessed are we who ask you for permission to do things the same way
or completely differently,
to wade through raw emotions
or ride on the surface of it all.
Give us wisdom and guidance
that transcends the strangeness,
making whatever little plans are possible.

Blessed are we who ask for a way forward
during this time
to celebrate some small ritual of remembrance that becomes a safe place
to store the love and the grief,
the anger and the ache of the knowledge
that there is no one who can take their place. Not one.

Blessed are we who ask you, God,
to take hold of the fear,
and us with it,
and lead us through.

*From our new book of blessings, THE LIVES WE ACTUALLY HAVE (2/14/23)