• Dina Stander

cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean

Updated: Mar 29, 2020


(with a tip o' the pen to Wislawa Szymborska's poem 'Consolation')

I went to the beach yesterday, to gather stones to give away at a funeral service. I live inland and it is a long drive, an effort, a labor of love. At the point in the road where the sky changes I opened the window to breathe in the salt air, my whole body excited by the change in atmosphere.

I went to the beach yesterday and sat at the bottom of the stairs that bring you from the top of the dune to the sandy shoreline. I sat with my hands in my lap, weeping, hoping no one walking by would notice the sloppy ragged tears. Digging my toes into the sand like a four year old, bereft and heartbroken. The seagulls stared and kept their distance. The waves continued to curl gently to shore. Finally the sorrow was spent and I could go searching for stones.

I went to the beach yesterday and found the long-dead fleshless carcass of a giant sea turtle that gave me two bones. Later I found a cache of ancient whelk shells wedged by a recent storm into nooks and crannies in the breakwater, one of them hardly damaged and bigger than my hand. A tennis ball waited in the dry seaweed at the high tide line, a tease for the next dog to come along and give it purpose. And a matchbox race car sat stalled in the sand. There was a delicate feather with unusual black and white markings, I put it carefully in a pocket but when I looked later it had flown off again.

The stones that came to hand have edges and imperfections. Some of them shimmer. Even the small ones have a way of sitting in your palm or between your fingers with gravitas. This is how I choose them, the ones that have a weight that feels right in my hand are the ones given a place in my pockets. I am choosy, many are touched and left. My vest gets damp and the pockets are bulging and lumpy by the time I limp back towards the car.

I use my cane at the beach to help me along, to poke at things that I may not want to touch, leaning hard to bend and rise again when I find something interesting. I leave a trail of tripod tracks in the sand, two bare feet and a peg hole from the cane. A skilled tracker would tell you this person is foraging, is lame, and won't get far without resting. I sit again at the bottom of the stairs to watch the sea, and the day, and for the comfort of wiggling my toes some more in the sand. I am done throwing cups of sorrow into the ocean, reassured by the sea gifts, shell and bone and stone. Slightly mended. Ready to turn towards home again.


55 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Contact:

Dina Stander

dinastander15@gmail.com

(413) 237-1300

139400_09ff2e6344c440a49ca3111eec2de904~

For funeral resources in

your area contact the FCA:

TIP HAT

Signs of Life services are offered on a

pay as you can basis.

Here is a PayPal LINK for your convenience.

©2017 by Dina Stander, End-of-Life Navigator. Proudly created with Wix.com