I wanted to share a couple of comments from our healing tribe to the photo of the Melancolie sculpture.

Raphael carries this photo on his phone to remind him of the grief he carries with the loss of his 21 year old daughter, Cristina, three years ago.   Grief is indeed a very heavy load, particularly in those early years.

[Rising Cairn, by Celeste Roberge   Celeste Roberge website]


Nancy was reminded of the book The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein.  They lost their 25 year old son, Alex, in 2016.  “I feel like that every day. My children loved that book and so did I.  When we are all together now, I feel like there is a missing piece.”

Hilary remembered the book (written in 1963), but I was not familiar with it.  So, I just got it on Amazon.   It’s a wonderful, short read. My takeaway from the book is how strikingly similar its message is with what we’ve been exploring in Melancolie and Priests, Mediums and Shamans.

For those not familiar with the story, the little circle is on a quest to find the missing piece to make him whole.  He likes to sing a little ditty and, because he moves a lot slower missing that piece, he has more time to experience nature, talk to a worm, smell a flower, “race” a beetle, and permit a butterfly to ride on his back.   After many trials and errors, he finds a piece that appears to be an ideal fit.

However, now that his hole is filled, he now rolls very fast and can’t slow down to talk to the worm, smell the rose, or give a butterfly a piggy-back ride.  And worst of all, with the new piece stuck in his throat, he can’t sing.

So, he gently removes the piece, sets it on the road, and resumes the slower trudge, singing his favorite ditty ‘I’m looking for my missing piece..,’ and giving rides to butterflies.

I harken back to Mark Nepo’s observation of loss and grief:

In every space opened when what we want gets away, a deeper place is cleared in which the mysteries can sing.  If we can only survive that pain of being emptied, we might yet know the joy of being sung through. Strangely and beautifully, each soul is a living flute being carved by the life on Earth to sound deeper and deeper song.

Suffering makes an instrument of each of us
so that standing naked, holes and all,
the unseen vitalities can be heard
through our simplified lives.

So, yes, we’ve suffered deep, painful loss, pieces of us split with our loved ones, and we have holes in our hearts.  For me, it’s like a couple of wheels got knocked off and I got kicked over to a different road.  I lamented I could never be “whole” again nor get my old life back.  And now, I can better appreciate what my daughter, Brittany, observed a few years ago: “Dad, when Jimmy died, your heart wasn’t broken—your heart was broke open.”

I may move a little slower than I used to, but I think it’s partly because I’m running in the heavier water—trudging along the deeper dimensions of this life with my body of rocks.  I do know this:  If Jimmy hadn’t died I would never have reconnected with my father and forgiven him; I never would have reconnected with my old, dear friends from grade school and high school; I would not have discovered the force of synchronicity and the amazing power, wonder and, yes, joy of deeply connecting with family, friends and strangers, and that we truly are all one riding this energy train.

When my doctor’s teenage son took his life, I would have found a new doctor (as I did many years ago when my dentist’s four year old son was killed), instead of sitting down with him and talking about our boys, sharing “man tears” and parting with a hug and a new found deep friendship that otherwise would have never formed.    I could go on, but I think you get my drift.

Don’t get me wrong, I would give all that back in a heartbeat to have my son here with us.

Yet, Missing a Piece is not necessarily a bad thing.   We may be broken, but we aren’t broke.   We are naked and full of holes, and yet light shines through our holes that others can’t see.     Our loved ones sing and play through the holes in our hearts- slow down and listen.

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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