The other night I calculated how old you would have been today. 75. Wow. The number shocks me. I can’t picture you as a 75 year old woman. And the number is too even, too perfect…the idea is so alien. It’s too far from the reality that you only lived till you were 56.
With loss, you rely on your imagination and your memories to keep your loved ones close. And there has already been so many betrayals along the way. When you realize you can’t remember the sound of their voice, the way they smelled, or the shape of their lips when they smiled. For some of those, there’s a solution…pictures, home videos…or a favorite scent that reminds you of them.
It’ll be 19 years this May…it has been soooooo long. I’m running out of images, videos and my own imagination can’t keep up with all that has changed and all that would have changed had you not died.
I didn’t wake up with this rock in my stomach and the tightness in my throat — it all just hit me at once. Grief is so strange in the ways it flows through us.
My two favorite poets:
On Joy and Sorrow
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
And of course, words from my favorite human/researcher/storyteller: