Looking back, I can still see you sitting there. Hands wrapped around a mug, fingers touching lightly. The milky coffee had probably cooled by then, but you held onto it anyways. When I looked at your face, I saw my own and it unnerved me. The way you held yourself carried a new uncertainty that I prayed you would never know. Your head slightly bowed, hair floating all around. The ache spilling from the inside out across your features.
And don’t think I can’t see that heavy cloak you’re wearing, the one you can’t seem to undo. Awkward and cumbersome, tripping you with every tip toe forward. I heard the words of devastation and shock, an almost cyclical speech floating in the air around us. But the words just hang there because all I can do is feel your pain. The giant waves of it as they crash and roll over you. The ebbs and flows that trickle in and through your heart with out ceasing. But grief is like that you know. She crashes and roars and then calmly settles around you as if she could build a home there. Hello, how are you. I’ll be staying. Don’t worry, I’ve unpacked.
I sneak a glance over my own folded hands and know that I have nothing to give you. Not anything you’d want anyway. There is no pretty answer wrapped in a glitter bow. I have no itinerary that says heart break starts here move five spaces left to begin healing. I’ve learned that all I can do is sit with you. Right out there in the thick of it because we all so desperately need someone to look us right straight in the eyes and tell us who we are when are lost in ourselves and the roll tides of grief.
I want you to know
that these crashing waves will slowly turn to low tides and how they’ll carry you somewhere new. That as this pain utterly rocks you to your core to not hold tightly to the pieces of your heart or try to mash them back into what they once were. But to let those waves break all around you until in a moment of stillness you know you are holding something new and that it is good. That your heart that will emerge from this watery grave and will always bear the map of what you have seen and felt. But the lines will no longer be puckered and angry, but instead faded and smooth. You’ll look and trace the edges of those paths and marvel at just how far you have come and how change can only be seen in backward glances.
To know whether you sit in the roll tides for weeks, months, or years, I will stay with you as long as you need me. No matter the tears, the moments of broken bitterness that masks your pain, or even the despair. You need to know that these give birth to a deeply rooted quiet kind of hope and an all out wild encompassing kind of compassion for the broken hearted that will never leave your bones.
In time you will remember and relearn all the little bits and pieces of yourself – and you’ll love them more than ever. Your laugh will tinkle like bells and roll deep in your belly. When these things happen, that heavy cloak you’re wearing will begin to fit rather snugly and it won’t bring the comfort it once did. So hang it up in your tiny front closet, but keep it close at hand because there will be days that the rains come again, sometimes in the middle of a blue sky. Eventually, these days will be far and few in between and the rains merely mist upon your skin.
I remember to sit with you my friend, to not offer you a map, or empty words, but to remind you to wear your grief and let her stay her course – she leaves in her own time and no one else’s. When the heartbreak crashes and roars and then seeps into your bones – I will sit with you.