I never noticed those words in the Psalter. But how fitting they are during this time of isolation, grief, and sorrow as we continue to live (and die) during this “2020 Pandemic.” Years from now, how will be look back at this time? Will there be a name for this era in the history books?
One thing is for sure. We are each grieving in our own ways. For many, the loss has been visceral – a loved one no longer with us. For others, the grieving is not related to the pandemic as death always makes an appearance whether it is expected or unexpected. At the moment, gone are the times to hug family and friends, gather to share stories and remembrances, be present to hold hands in silence with unspoken words passing between us.
These past nine months have been difficult. Nine months. The time it takes to bring forth human life.
Within this time a book appeared on my doorstep. One that I knew was coming. But one that I did not expect. A Little Blue Bottle by Jennifer Grant with illustration by Gillian Whiting brought me back to the times of my parents’ and grandparents’ deaths. Each death was immanent as they were all elderly with a variety of health issues. But death still takes the breath away from the living also, with tears that are an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality.
So this book could not have come at a better time – for children and all who care for them or have experience a loss. With vibrant yet subtle hues, a story of remembering and wondering is offered as a girl faces the empty space left my an elderly neighbor. With gentle words of comfort and the sense of a companion holding one close with a slight touch of care, Jennifer’s words bring solace without dismissing feelings of loss and grief.
Whether you keep your grief in your heart or in a little bottle (as the psalmist shares), A Little Blue Bottle will be a comfort during this epidemic and beyond.