Win some, lose some. Hum, winsome: sweetly or innocently charming; engaging, a winsome smile.
How to be winsome in the face of loss?
I believe we all have faced loss. I didn’t use to think about it, but after my mother died a friend gave me her husband’s copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook, which has you write out a loss chart for your life.
Another friend pointed out that moving, even when desired, involves loss of place, friends, routines…
Imagine a 40 year old daughter crying out to God, “what will I do when she’s gone?” and more specifically, “Who will buy me clothes?” That was a Friday, and on Sunday night Uncle Lem brought me a sweet little black dress (that fit my neighbor so I gave it to her but that’s beside the point) from his clothing factory in NY. Everyone should have an Uncle Lemuel!! “Who will I call on the phone?” was answered with a swimming-up-to-consciousness picture of my mother’s friend Rosie. Others. Somehow God gave me to understand that the love of my mother was love from him, and that he has other people through whom to show me his love, just not in the same package.
I was able to go to her and reassure her in a moment of clarity when she admitted she was going to die, “I know, but I’ll be okay.” I got to mother her, one night, in pain. And then I had to leave, and days later she was gone with a sigh. (We both sighed, me in Boston, she in Dallas.)
Imagine a 40 year old daughter walking the streets in the rain, and overwhelmed by grief. Standing in line at a post office, and a total stranger says, “light a candle at mass, it will help!” I thanked her, not explaining I go to the church down the road from the big Catholic one. Walking, raw, waves of sadness threaten to overwhelm me but I cast about and realize I can thank God instead and I jump into that place, heartily thanking God for the mother I had although I will have her no more: thank you for what was, thank you that she loved me so, thank you that she introduced me to you.
My winsome smile is sometimes glimpsed through tears. It’s grateful for the compassion of strangers, people who have faced loss too. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. I have found the truth of this promise.