Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn Morrissey

 
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:4 The Message)

 

Death springs forth often unexpectedly, yet through Christ, death has lost it’s sting. Today, I have invited Lynn D. Morrissey to share how she uses writing poetry as a means to honor a loved one who has passed on from this life.  As I comtemplated her poem, I not only thought of grieving over a person, but also sorrowing over any loss, including seasons of life. Lynn opens with an introduction to her writing process and then we have her poem.  (Kel)

Here’s Lynn:

When loved ones die, we long to remember—to remember the sheen of her hair and the shine of her eyes, the sway of his gait and the sound of his voice, the lilt of their laughter and the lyrics of their heart.

We think we’ll never forget, but we do. Cherished memories recede like haunting echoes of a faraway loon, like sepia photographs fading with time …

We need a way to remember—to indelibly stamp our beloved’s heart-print onto our own so that we might never forget. And one sure way is with ink, in words. Writing traces whorls and swirls of our soul into patterns of permanence. Writing remembers. Writing honors. Memories penned say, You lived and loved. You laughed and lamented. You mingled and mattered. Scribed remembrances bottle the fragrance, the feelings, the fellowship of relationships that once were, and now always can remain, stored in the heart.

I penned this poem in memory of a friend’s mother upon the first anniversary of her passing. I offered it to him, with love, as a way to say, I honor her, and in so doing, I honor you. Roses were her favorite flower. Surely, their summer fragrance evokes for my friend his mother’s memory now, even in the winter of his grief. Hopefully, too, my words etch her essence, making her soul visible, and remind him of the presence and purposes of the invisible God in life and in death.

                                                                        
Might you consider composing a “roses of remembrance” poem honoring someone you miss or as a gift for someone who has lost a loved one? One form of poetry which is especially meaningful is an alpha poem (abecedarian), which uses a person’s name in bold lettering as a vertical acrostic around which to wrap the body of the poem. I have done this numerous times, and had the poems framed as a special gift. They are always received with emotion and gratitude. You could do the same and offer special comfort to those who need it.

Roses of Remembrance

 
“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” —Barrie

 

A year has come and gone,

commemorated with parading autumnal suns
(and those of winter, spring, and summer),
marking the march of unstoppable days.

The spray of crimson roses, long-since frayed atop her stone,

has fleetly decayed like a tatterdemalion scattering of tears, petaling her grave—
vanished, unsettingly, sans trace.

Why must roses languish and die?

Why must their grace, their velvetine voluptuousness
corrupt,
giving sway to decline,
as day gives way to night,
laughter to tears,
melismas to silence?
Why must that which can but delight
take flight like a sudden exultation of larks
beating rapturous wings into darkness,
then disappear?

Why can’t roses endure in Edenic purity—

vivid, redolent, regal in unequaled beauty?
Why must evanescence quell such magnificent efflorescence?

Why?

There is no answer but to question, How?

 

How to live in light of all deaths, little and large,

in light of what we cannot fully comprehend,
but have no choice but to accept?
How to face all endings, their unequivocal inevitability?
How to grasp what eludes, preserve what won’t last?
What’s our charge?

To live largely, lavishly,

cultivating God’s flowers
and souls and hours and minutes minutely,
with open eyes and open arms,
relishing each one,
distilling them to their core,
and when they’re no more . . .
gathering roses of remembrance
—fragrant with love, past; perfuming life, present—
emblems of what never dies: the rose’s essence.

God prunes the bush with death’s sharp shears,

so that there might inevitably be a heavenly, beatific blossoming,
so that Eden might flourish anew,
eternally …

(Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey)

Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.
You may contact Lynn at words@brick.net.
Please feel free to comment to Lynn on this post, as she will be checking comments. We appreciate feedback and your responses to her work.

14 thoughts on “Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn Morrissey

  1. Wow Lynni! I love that, what a loving gesture to share such a beautiful message with a friend to just let them know that you remember their loss. You are so good at remembering others. I don't think I'll ever look at a rose the same again, especially the "emblems of what never dies: the roses essence." Isn't that what we hope to leave when we pass, a rosie essence? So glad Kel shared you with us today. Hugs my friends,Kelly

  2. Lynni, you have such a lyrical style. Even your narrative writing is poetic. I loved everything you said here. My sister's husband is in the last stage of his life and already I am struggling to remember the good times we all shared with him because so much of what is going on now is painful and sad and difficult. Thank you for reminding me that writing will keep the treasured memories alive for all of us who love him.

  3. Oh my dear friend, I felt as if you'd written that in honor of my own dear mother, who as you know only too well (since you welcomed me into your just week's after her passing) has not been gone long but is missed more than words can express. But you, dear heartbud, in your lovely, lilting way, have captured the essence of poignant love–not lost, but "on hold" until that great Reunion Day. Bless you!

  4. How wonderfully beautiful… Your gift from God spent on others so lavishly… no wonder He blessed you with so much of it. A wonderful gesture and a life altering word… Thanks for sharing this, Lynn. My soul is calmed…

  5. Kelly, my smile-and-joy lady! I'm so grateful for your kind words. Thank you. I really appreciate your insights. And isn't it amazing, that even when our bodies die–our souls (our essence) never does. What joy it will be when soul and resurrected body are finally reunited. What a day (and days and days and days in eternity!) that will be. I love that we will always share that, Kelly!LoveLynni

  6. Thank you sweet Karen for your kind words, and what *you* have said brings tears to my eyes. I was just talking with a precious friend today who recently lost her husband. She said something very similar because he had been ill for so very long. I know how beautifully you write, and that you will be able to truly do these memories justice. I pray this brings you and your sister great joy as you remember the good times.Love you,Lynni

  7. All of you impress me. Every one of you have a wonderful way with words. Lynn, what you express, and the wonderful way you use words to express it, is very touching. I can only imagine the comfort it gave to your friend to receive it and know how much you honored both him and his mother. Thank you for letting Kel share it with all of us. Jeanette

  8. Oh dearest Kathi. Yes, truly. How well I remember, and I felt so personally honored that we could be with you at that time, and that you felt comfortable enough to share this pain. Holding your heart was a gift. And to think that you truly will see your mom, and we, our dear fathers. And we both just knew that they had already met! Yes, dear heartbud, what a great day that will be!Love,Lynni

  9. What kind words Floyd–and from you–one of my dearest new friends and wonderful bloggers. Thank you. And that this poetry calmed you is a great gift to me. I do hope you will try your hand at your own. There is something so special about it.Thanks so much, Floyd!Lynn

  10. Dear Jeanett, and thank *you* beyond words for this gracious gesture here. I'm so touched by what you said. I think poetry is a special vehicle and allows us to express deep emotions that do not always lend themselves to prose. I wish I had met my friend's mom, but somehow, having read his own poetry about her, I feel as if I have. I hope you will visit Kel often. She does wonderful things here!LoveLynnPS You will have to tell us if you blog. I was not finding one for you.

  11. Thank you, Lynn. Your timing, as I'm sure you know, is perfect. The "march of unstoppable days" are leading me to the first anniversary of my mom's death, and your poem is a beautiful reminder that words will help to keep her essence clear and sharp and colorful. Thank you, sweet Lynn, for sharing this with me!Love,Kathy

  12. Kathy, yes, you knew exactly why I had you in mind when I told you about this post. You are a precious lady and you have lost the lady most precious to you. I cannot fathom that, being as close to my mother as I am….except that I loved my father so much, and he passed away nearly six years ago. I am so sorry for your loss, and yet I know how much your mother lives on in your heart, your words, and moreoever, in your life. They *way* you live, Kathy, honors her memory like nothing else can. You are a special, lovely lady. And I might add that I see her legacy lived on in your children.LoveLynn

  13. Dear Lynn, that was one powerful piece of poetic prose. I think I need to try an Alpha poem…that sounds like a wonderful exercise and gift. Your writing continues to bless. I must say I am curious about the CJF and ministry info. I need to know more…Thank you so much for your availability here at Kel's place, your transparency and openness in your writing and your YOU-ness. You are a blessing.

  14. Oh Dawn, you are just so very sweet….my You-ness. That's so cute, and very kind and endearing. Thank you! And thank you for your most generous words here. I so appreciate you. Yes, please do try an alpha poem. I think you will be amazed at how easy they are to write. There is just something amazing abuot how the acrostic letters just lead you from thought to thought. I never know what to say, and when I dive in with the first letter, the poem almost writes itself–often in just 5-10 minutes. And, of course, to frame them, really makes them a unique gift for birthdays, holidays, funerals, etc. You can also write a poem on *any* subject by listing the entire alphabet from A-Z. On "X," you may use words like "X-pressive," "X-traordinary," etc. If you wish to learn more about my CJF (Certified Journal Facilitator) credential, just email me at words@brick.net, and I will let you know where I studied and with whom. Joyful Journaling to you Miss Dawn!LoveLynn

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