In the past seven months I've said goodbye to eight people that I absolutely, positively love with all that I am. To say I miss them all horribly is an understatement of grand proportions. I'm still not sure how I get through from one day to the next without dying myself of utter brokenness. I'm always a little bit surprised at the end of the day when I'm still here.
My heart is crushed to the extent that I'm not quite sure if it still has the capacity to hold love. Whatever love that was in me feels dead or like it's leaking out through the cracks in my soul.
I've learned that grief can be absolutely exhausting. It seems to come in waves. Some are negotiable while others are impossible to navigate and make you feel as though they'll swallow you whole. They curl you up and wring you round and round like dishrags in a washing machine. Just when you catch a swift gasp of air, the undertow of it all sucks you right back down again. You're tired of swimming in it but grief doesn't care. It's relentless. It beats against you and wears you out. You're freezing cold. You're all alone, drifting wild. You're lost and it feels like your whole body is growing numb and you're about to sink. Your mind is cloudy and you're unsure of everything.
What's even real anymore?
How do I know if I'll ever be on solid ground again?
When will I be able to breathe again?
Then someone calls you or sends a note.
Someone holds you in an embrace that seems to press the broken pieces of your being back together like clay.
A friend brings a meal and sits with you for a while.
The comfort that exists within the love of real friends enters in like a beam of sunlight after the hurricane. Love is the light house in the dark, dismal abyss of emotional turmoil. Love comes in waves, too, but these waves won't destroy you.
Love throws you a lifeline and gives your soul CPR. My lungs can expand again. My heart is beating. Love is healing and although it doesn't take away all of the pain, it stands beside you, enabling you to see a little glimmer of light and feel something else, anything else, besides sorrow. My eyes are opened once again to the possibility of joy and my spirit is refreshed with an internal knowing that there really is something more to this life than grief.
I'm going to make it.
One step, another step...and yet another baby step. I'm doing it. I'm going forward. It hurts like hell but I'm coming out of this darkness. I see one thin ray of hope and I will hold onto it.
All is not lost.
Please never underestimate a simple act of kindness. A touch, a hug, a kiss on the cheek. A meal, a card, a song, or simply standing in silence with the one who is grieving is quite possibly the best gift you can ever give to another human soul.
Knowing that my tribe knows me so well and I don't have to offer any explanations or apologies for my tousled emotions, is a gift so divine.
I may not be done grieving for quite some time, but I am determined to untangle myself from this dark web of sorrow and I will keep living, not just existing.
I am quite sure I have my God, my family, and my friends to thank for that.
I'm so grateful.