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Meadowlark Hospice

Dawn's Notes

Hope, Hope, Hope... - March 2021
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW

The lonely sound of geese can be heard overhead—lonely honk, honk, honk—as they wing their way southward in an ink-black sky.  Whirr, whirr, whirr—the quiet sound of flapping wings, and then silence. The cold north wind urges them onward, and they fly, on and on, day and night.  Their instincts tell them they must fly, even in the darkness, in the cold and wind.  Perhaps their honk, honk, honks could be translated hard, hard, hard—their flight is not easy! 

When the honks of geese are heard in the daytime hours, one will most likely see a flock of geese flying in a V which is sometimes symmetrical and sometimes not-so-perfect as they struggle against buffeting winds. But onward they fly, with the geese in the rear “honking” encouragement to those in front.  Maybe they are saying on, on, on. Sometimes a goose from the back of the V moves to the front position, giving the tired leader a break.  Due to the formation, all can travel about 71% easier than alone since each goose provides uplift for the bird behind him. If a goose is wounded during the journey, two geese may accompany the wounded one to the ground. They will stay with the weaker bird until he either dies or becomes well enough to travel again.  If the wounded goose becomes strong enough to fly, the three geese usually join in a new flock of travelers and continue their journey.

In the spring when the geese begin their northward journey, the air may still be crisp and cold.  As an onlooker, many times I have watched a flock of geese overhead and wished them safety as they headed north.  Their honk, honk, honks sound more hopeful, not as lonely as in the autumn. Similar to the hardships of geese during migration, life may bring “fierce winds”—challenging relationships, accidents, homicides, illnesses, even deaths.  Life may make no sense at all.

As our “skies” grow dark, the words hard, hard, hard may come to mind, and it may be tough to get out of bed, to eat, or even sleep well.  During the difficult times, a friend or relative can help make our journeys less difficult. Life is easier when we have a friend in front of us, facing the wind, giving us a little “uplift” in our dark times.  During the first spring after my husband died of cancer, I needed someone to urge me on, on, on, to encourage me to keep on going. 

As in previous springs, the flowers still blossomed, the trees sprouted leaves, and the geese honked their way north as usual.  The rest of the world welcomed spring with joy.  But I felt no excitement or anticipation for the future, only sadness as I faced life without my husband. I felt insecure in my new role as a widow, and there were so many practical things to attend to—lawnmowers to keep going, bills to pay, and a vehicle to maintain.  But friends helped me as I muddled through the challenges.

If someone you love has died, do not hesitate to let others give you a temporary uplift.  It is okay to ask for help—I had to even though I did not want to.

Your heart can heal too.  But for now, grab onto hope and do not let go.  Be patient and kind to yourself.  Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  May this spring season bring you joy and new opportunities for hope, hope, hope.

Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice
709 Liberty, Clay Center, Kansas
(785) 632-2225
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator