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The Rocks, The Candle, The Dragonfly and the Rose

by Glenn Seefeldt

It was 4 pm Easter Sunday afternoon when the police knocked on our door. Our daughter Kristin had died by suicide and in 5 minutes our world melted into shocked numbness and after the insulating numbness, the raw brokenness of life crushed and dreams shattered. It was as if large rocks rolled over us.

Those first months were a blur and eventually the sharp,

ice-pick-like stabbing pain in our hearts became more like a headache of the heart. We longed to know Kristin was ok and two reassuring signs came.

The first, a cardinal which sang an unusual song outside our bedroom window at 2 am that first evening upon knowing her death. The second was a dragonfly, which came and sat for hours on the rope which hung next to our sliding door to our deck, a place loved by us and Kristin. With the dragonfly came fragile reassurance similar to a dimly burning candle—fragile, small, but burning and with it we saw fragility, uncertainty but also possibility—possibility of finding life restored, living into a new normal without her.

Weeks turned into months and the first year passed, the pain changed but oh still such a heartache. I remember wanting to fight against the grief, pushing it away, trying to bend it to my will. It was not working, and then one day a profound insight came: Accept what each day brings, God will provide.

As I look back, some days it seemed as if the loss never happened and on those days God was giving respite from the pain. Some days all I could do is hold down the couch, keeping it from flying off into the universe. I would say, on those days God gave permission to just be. On other days, I felt the pain in every cell of my being and God gave the energy I needed to deal with the grief full on. Then comes the day when you feel joy again and guilt for feeling joyful, but with joy comes hope, like a Rose, beautiful and inviting but also prickly and forbidding. We long to be restored but we do not want to forget our loved one.

I have come to trust that God will give me what I need each day, the challenge is for me to trust it. Dragonflies help me to trust it. Dragonflies are God’s messengers of hope, reassuring us that our loved ones are not forgotten and we will find joy again.


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