The city of Minneapolis is mourning an increased number of homicides this year, just when city officials were feeling good about how low the homicide rate had fallen. Those are numbers. I can’t help but think about the people who mourn the loss of those lives. There will be a big hole in their hearts for a long, long time … if not forever.
I recently read Mother Poems (Henry Holt) by Hope Anita Smith. Although I was caught in the torrent of emotions, I needed time to let it rest before I could write about the book. Time would soothe over the sorrow I felt for this … little girl who lost her mother, who so eloquently expressed her grief in these pages … woman, who lost her mother, who still carries on in spite of the large hole in her heart … artist, whose cut paper artwork speaks in a voice as quiet, as loud, as angry, as hopeful as the words in her poems … poet, whose strength and resilience and ability to craft understanding with words will speak to anyone whose heart is no longer whole, no matter if the empty place was caused by a mother or grandfather or brother or aunt or son or best friend. No, time hasn’t diminished the powerful emotions that Mother Poems stirs. These will endure, connecting me to others who know about loss.
I think of the people who mourn. Sometimes the news item has a face, most often it is only vital statistics. It is hard for us to imagine the person, those who will grieve for the life that was, the life that could have been. Embracing that life force, the holes in the hearts of those who loved each person … Hope Anita Smith offers a powerful book of healing and understanding.