It was the kind of pain that wrenches at your insides, like a giant’s hand tearing them to shreds. Your chest heaves, your ribs spreading wide with each gasp, tears pouring from your eyes in a drenching rain.
I can’t seem to do anything else but shed tears for her loss, the loss of a man she gave heart and soul to, who returned it ten-fold. And my loss, as they tragically coincided under a snowy sky on a December day that will never be forgotten. My heart hurts when I remember my own pain, the wandering grief that followed, swallowing up normalcy, making your head thick, yet empty. Every effort was needed to do even the most mundane of tasks, of pulling on clothes, moving from one hour of the day to the next and at the end trying to determine how you got to bedtime because you can’t recall one moment of the past 12 hours.
I’ve known that numbing loss and she says to me, as I hold her shoulders close “I’m just so, so sad. And I keep waiting for the moment that I won’t feel so sad!” And I cry harder when I think “It will never come.” I wish I could tell her it will all be fine, but I can’t. Because it won’t. And I know all too well that it won’t.
Twenty one years have passed since the loss of my sister. While I don’t cry at the drop of a hat any longer for her lost life, for the darkness that took her down, drowning and gulping for air, my heart feels the loss every year on December 9th. And 18 years have passed since my Mom left this earth, a loss more acute than I could have ever imagined. Christmas was her favorite time of the year and I still can break down in tearing sobs of pain when the familiar strains of our favorite holiday music fills the air.
I wish I could say to her ‘It gets better.’ but truthfully, I just tell her that it gets less painful. It never gets better. It never heals.You can never reclaim your life as it was. Your heart can still beat, your breath still drawn in, blown out and repeated for eternity, but the empty gash in your heart becomes yet another hole, a reminder that you loved someone so deeply that without them, life lacks the sense and the meaning that you crave. It’s all I can say. She nods. She knows. We both know.
Much like that terrible day 21 years ago, the earth on it’s December axis has shifted from mild and warm, to cold, snowed in and frozen, like our hearts when loss tears them apart. Every breath feels like your lungs could crack, the air so fragile in it’s icy state. So much like our heart, our souls when grief comes. At some point, Spring will boast it’s return, the earth will thaw and flowers bloom and air becomes sweet and mild once more but we keep that season of snow and cold inside us all the time, whether we want to or not. Loss takes from us our eternal Spring. And I’ve weathered many heart-breaking winters of grief. I know her pain will linger for months on end and a tear comes to my eye for her.
This is the 65th installment of freely written thoughts.