Life in the Bardo


Holly Grantham -Life in the Bardo3

I remember how the floor gave way
the moment my mom died
She stopped breathing
and I fell into
a deep nothingness
Around me stood the shells of
my brothers and sisters
To my left, sat my dad
crumpled in upon himself
And all of us hung suspended
in space both liminal and raw
our eyes and ears thick with grief
Then, the thick silence
the one that had wrapped the room
slipped slant
when an errant car horn honked
outside the hospital window
An interruption that hinted at a
world still spinning
I remember hearing it
I do not remember understanding

It is in these spaces
just after the
what was
and before the
what will be
That we feel the rupture so severely
What we wanted
What we imagined
no longer is
Everything is dismantled
all that we have is

This is life in the bardo
where we are entombed between
endings and beginnings
We inhale grief and
exhale surrender
and slowly
we are distilled by the
The desperate grasping
The light turns
It finds our inbetween places
The loam of emptiness is
where the unruly strands of our endings
It is there that
we can

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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  1. Tracy Nelson says:

    oh HOLLY! …. raw and precious. thank you.

  2. Nichole Bilcowski Forbes says:

    Stunning. Heart breaking.
    And healing.

  3. Thank you for so perfectly capturing this space of Saturday. Of the unknown, but hope.

  4. You had me at those first two lines. O. Wow.

  5. Megan Gahan says:

    It feels like the space between your heart and your words—particularly you poetry—is so very, very thin. I think that’s why I love your poetry so very much. It is you, completely Holly, completely transparent. Reading this felt like I was sitting right next to you with a cup of tea. It also brought me back to the place when my father-in-law passed, just barely over four years ago. Easter is always very hard for our family, and I can only hope that writing this piece offered you the same healing it did me this morning. Much love, my friend.

  6. says:

    I just relived those moments which are hard to erase! This shows how enduring love can hold one on to their lost love!
    Bob S.

  7. Haunting, beautiful, and full of truth and emotion. Keep writing!

  8. sandyhay says:

    Your poetry always grips me to the core. xoxo

  9. pastordt says:

    Exactly where I am – thank you.

  10. Helen Burns Helene Burns says:

    Beautiful Holly… thank you xo

  11. Saskia Wishart says:

    Oh Holly. This is beautiful.

  12. Melaney G Lyall says:

    The light turns
    It finds our inbetween places…
    Wow! I love your heart words. I have been standing in grief a whole lot of years and the cracks are starting to form so the light can get in…
    I am so thankful for your gentle, vulnerable, welcoming heart…the light is shining through xo

    • Melaney,
      I’ve only glimpsed your grief and that was so very weighty. I can only imagine the burden it has been for you. But here’s the thing, we can always walk forward. Always. Consider this your invitation to grab my hand. Let’s walk this out together.

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