Grief | A Paper Crane Is More Than Just Paper
I’ve been struggling with a personal piece this week. Lots of drafts started. But finding the words to express how I feel has been difficult at best, excruciating at worst. It’s been tough to find words of joy when I’ve actually been suffering with grief.
Grief at Christmastime always brings a harsh cruel reality with it. The stages of grief have hit pretty hard, but I kept finding myself staring at a package of origami paper in the house. So in my grief and solace, I’ve been folding paper cranes. Here’s what these paper cranes have taught me, in the midst of heartache.
How easy it is to wad up a piece of paper. But how much harder it is to go through a series of steps, minutes on end to produce 1 product. Precision is key in origami. One over or under fold can lead to a sloppy mess or an abandoned project. It takes patience to fold one crane. It takes dedication of my time and effort.
To one person, a piece of paper is exactly that, paper. But to fold one in a piece of artwork, I am bringing out beauty. You are seeing past what the paper IS, but seeing what it can become. That’s real beauty.
Maybe an escape from the day, the moment. But therapy of just going through the motions. I’m not thinking about who sees me folding or caring about what people think of the results. I’m folding for me. Because if folding one crane gives me a few minutes to forget the pain, a few minutes to focus on something else, I’m making steps in the right direction.
Not just anyone can fold a crane off the street. There is some skill involved. Then practicing, remembering the steps and self-control. Wisdom in sitting down and finding the time. Wisdom to know where to start. Wisdom to finish. Wisdom to know when to stop if not done correctly. I had no idea how much wisdom I would need to fold a piece of paper.
The Japanese knew what they were doing. Perfection. Looking at the finished product, seeing how one piece of paper can become this beautiful treasure in a matter of minutes, it is just perfection. Perfection in the folds and the construction. Perfection of the unseen. Perfection of art.
And when the process is done, I feel the slightest nudge of peace. Peace with my results. Peace with the time I dedicated. Peace for the wisdom and understanding. Peace for healing.
A paper crane is so much more than a paper crane. A sense of comfort. Or just actions moving a process forward. Either way, there’s healing located in between those wings. I might not have truly sensed it with just a few folded birds. But perhaps a few hundred or even a few thousand can bring the healing that only time has for me. So I fold paper cranes. In honor of loved ones lost. In comfort for my grief. As a symbol of hope.
I am grieving. So I fold paper cranes.
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Van Ee says
I have experienced similar peace from folding paper. I hope you keep your cranes so that you can use them to remember or/and make a beautiful memorial with all of them.
Thank you 🙂 Definitely plan on keeping them!
paula schuck says
I love this piece for several reasons. My daughter is forever folding things and making origami. She would love this post for the beautiful images. I love it because I also grieve. It is our second year without my Mom and we are sad and it hits in strange waves and at strange times. I was picking up my sick child from school the other day when I read a Facebook status that simple reminded me of all the people I have lost. That brought the tears on as I was at her school. Sad. I understand this post because things that keep us busy help us to forget for a few minutes. We all need to find our origami
Thank you for sharing your story, Paula! The holiday can be rough for so many. I hope this piece brings a little bit of light in the darkness
A blogger friend just suffered major heart problems and was in the ICU. He was blogging while there. My husband just said, sometimes it’s the action of doing something that helps you press forward. I’m sorry to hear that you have been grieving. Thinking warm thoughts for you.
Thank you for reading, Rosey 🙂 Appreciate the thoughts
Sue E says
I wished I would have read your article earlier – I could have used some sort of peace any way I could’ve gotten it!!! I think the above paper cranes are beautiful! It IS a sort of grief therapy. Everyone could use a symbol of HOPE!! THANKS!!