I might not have the words to process everything right now, but I have words to make stories, and I guess in a way my creating stories is me processing it all. So here's something I wrote with the inspiration I gathered from this post
4 times in 5 days. That had to be some sort of record, even in it was only a personal one. And the tears had to be some sort of reflection of the burdened state of her heart. They were poetry in their own way, speaking when no more words could be said.The hardest word to say is goodbye. To the man you loved with all your crooked heart, to the tiny babe who held a piece of your heart, to friends and grandparents and those barely human but very much alive. Goodbye never gets easier.
She thought about this as she walked down the road that blistery October day, her toes and the tip of her nose growing colder.
A coffin the size no coffin should be, belonging to a tiny girl who was there that day when her life changed, a girl so loved by so many who had never met her. And it reminded her of a bigger coffin, one she stood over in march and sobbed over words unsaid and promises that didn't have time to be kept. And it reminded her of the others, the coffins she never saw but the lives of those behind them that had taken a piece of her with them as they passed on into the great perhaps.The cruelty and brutality of death must be met with the gentle hand of hope for without it everything crumbles.
Loss had put years on her. Her forehead was slightly wrinkled now, her feet colder, her body more fatigued and frail.
Being berated time after time, being forced to say the hardest word until there are no more words left, only aching sobs, it takes a toll on one's physical body.
If she were to write the names of the deceased up her arm the total would be over two dozen.
It is said there is one living person for each dead 14 and she felt she had more than her fair share of names tattooed on her skin of those who had changed her and died too soon.
When she was younger, her aunt, a seasoned veteran of life herself, used to tell her stories as she brushed out her hair. She spoke of unicorns and fairies and once she spoke of the land of enchantment.
She said the sand there was holy, and there were healing springs of life. She collected sand in plastic bags and water in tiny jars and she gave them to her friends back home. One to the divorcee, one to the motherless child, one to the ill and dying. She offered these items to her loved ones, and also offered herself.
She said perhaps we are all collecting things, filling our bags and jars. We fill and collect the offerings of others and when we are finally full we pass on.
It isn't painful, she said, rather it is more like being underwater, a breath and then as one world slips away a new one takes its place. For those left behind, though, her aunt said, when they have offered up pieces of themselves that are now gone, its the most painful thing imaginable. Suddenly you are without this part of yourself, however large or small, and you must figure out how to let it go.
People help. so do long hot showers, coffee so strong and hot it can make you wince, poetry and tears.
But in the end the only cure for the unbearable ache of saying a permanent goodbye is time itself.
One day, even if it seems unthinkable, the smile will return.
Her heart was broken. She had offered up herself to those who had gone to explore the great perhaps and the agony of living with a fractured heart was almost too much to bear.
Goodbye seems to get caught in the throat, sticky like peanut butter, and the idea of time healing all wounds seems laughable.
The idea of venturing into the great perhaps seems more appealing when you're lying on the bathroom floor with a broken heart.
But, her aunt had said, there comes a time when you must get up. Take that hot shower, stomach a cup of piping hot coffee and put one foot in front of the other. Collect moments of your own that will sustain you for a lifetime and then some extra to stow away for your own journey, when the time comes.
Swallow the hope. While it tastes sickeningly sweet in the mouth in the stomach it is a helpful remedy.
A scar will form, a reminder of the one you loved and the part of the heart that was given away, one for every unspeakable goodbye.
"Don't be afraid, my dear," her aunt had told her. "Your heart knows how to heal, even when you deem it impossible. You are a vessel, giving and collecting love. This is life."
And so, with red rimmed eyes and pale skin, she decided to get up. To shower, and make that pot of coffee and pray her aunt had been right, that over time the ache would diminish.
Besides, there was still much more loving left to do.