What does one even say after a month like the one we've had? Looking back now I feel like there was "us" before this summer and now there is "us" post summer and we look very different now. There's something about grief that seems to make it burrow itself deep into your very DNA and there is no part of you that isn't affected, that isn't different going forward.
The truth is we've been terribly lucky until this month, we've had the luxury of living in our happy little bubble where our biggest stressors were the usuals - work, money, kids, etc... And it's not that those things don't matter, that they don't genuinely cause a lot of heartache and headaches. It's just that grief is different. Every time it's happened it has felt like getting sucked into a black hole where it's perpetually night and you can't feel your way out. The only relief is sleep and even that doesn't come easy. You desperately want to go back, to wave a magic wand and undo it all but alas things remain as they are. Day in and day out.
Chemistry. Biology. Ecology. It takes the magic out of life. And it takes away any presuppositions you may have had with respect to how much control you truly have over your life.
I've always loved the quote "Life is what happens while you're busy making plans." Isn't that the truth? We had the whole autumn planned out - me going back to work, Birdie starting school, launching my business, interviewing nannies... And them BAM. Someone tossed a grenade in our house and all those "plans" went flying in tiny shattered pieces all around us. It was like the electricity went out. Perpetual darkness and winter. And still, in due time we began to slowly, carefully pick up the pieces and attempt to put things back together. We even began to make plans again, our hearts still heavy but healing, and then BAM. Another grenade. More shattering, more pieces scattered. More darkness. More tears. More heartache than you thought you could ever endure.
And yet... And yet, endure it you do. You wake up, you cry. You make breakfast, you cry. You do laundry, you cry. You eat lunch and you cry in your tomato soup. You drive to the grocery store and you cry. You cry at the grocery store. You learn to fall asleep crying and wake up crying until it begins to feel like a reflex, like something your eyes just do.
And then one day you wake up and you notice it's morning. You actually notice... the sun. You notice birds singing outside your window and you wince. But no, not today. The tears don't come. For once. You make coffee and you go outside to feed the chickens and still, no tears. You hold the warm eggs in your hands and run your fingers through Suzette's silky black feathers and you think - this is it. This IS life. Birth, death, new, old, pain, pleasure, joy, sadness and love. It just always circles back to love. Love is love. And love is sadness. Love is joy and pain and pleasure. Love is new and love is old. Love is birth and love is death. Once you've touched grief you realize you can't separate it anymore. It's all woven together - the beauty and horror. The pain and the pleasure. One cannot exist without the other and it really, truly is all beautiful.
Our human capacity to love is never more evident than our ability to care to so deeply, to hurt so much to feel like our very hearts are wrested from our chests. It's beautiful that we can give so much of our hearts to those we love.
"I have engraved you on the palms of my hands"
How many loves do we have engraved upon our hearts? What an incredible story is being woven there. And the marvelous thing is even in death the story doesn't stop being written. Because we love ever more. We hurt ever more. We imagine ever more. Our capacity to love someone doesn't end when their heart stops beating. We love and love and love and love. And we pass that love onto our children and their children and their children's children. The story keeps being written. There's no ending. You can't stop love. Love is eternal. Love is the most brutal, magnetizing, unbelievable and magical gift we can ever give or receive.
Thank goodness for love.
, by Flora and Fauna