You could see it, around the edges I mean.
The never-ending grief.
The brokenness that couldn’t be repaired.
The heartache that just never went away.
Sometimes an odd look would cross over their face.
Totally blank, but somehow it made you uncomfortable just seeing it. The glazed eyes, the tight mouth, the stress lines more pronounced. You had to wonder at how deep it went.
Then like the sun from behind a cloud they were back. Maybe you only imagined it after all. Look at how happy they appeared. It puzzled you because you didn’t know what caused it.
Ah! There it was at the eyes again. Just a slip, a small dip in their smile and an untrue pitch to their laugh. No, it wasn’t your imagination. Oh, but darling, if only they knew. The darkness was inside of you too.
Death became me and I became death in a time gone by. I no longer felt, it was as if I was floating while still experiencing immeasurable pain. Pain that would be the end of me as I knew myself.
I lost myself for a time, years went by. I didn’t know who I was. I only felt the absence. Death was so much more than a body in the ground for me. It was loss and grief yes. But it was also the end of childhood and life as I knew it.
It was loneliness in a room full of people. Abandonment from those closest and fear of commitment as I aged. It was finding a way to grow on my own and making mistakes I wouldn’t have dreamt of making in another time.
It was reaching my breaking point, filled with shame and doubts. No longer lovable or worthy because death had stolen from me what I could not seem to gain back in life. It was the knife under my pillow.
Yes, once in a time gone by, death became me and I became death…until the pain burned through me and I learned to stand again. Until I learned the shame and doubts were not my own. Until I learned that death was not a hated enemy or a treasured friend.
Death simply is. In the way that my living is now. Both have a time and place in our lives. We should not hurry it along. But learn to accept that it will one day come for us all. In the days before we can only stand when we are knocked down and continue loving despite the risks.
I remember the screams most now. My mothers screams….house and lawn full of people waiting. Her calling his phone over and over with no answer. Then the flashing lights.
The lights pulled up and a man stepped out. My father was inside. He asked for the parents of, she replied “I’m his mother.” Then without warning lights snatched the world out from under us. “I’m sorry to inform you…was killed in a car accident…”
I remember the words fading in and out as my mother collapsed and my father burst out of the house yelling, “what did you just say?!” Lights backed away from this wrath. Still my mothers screams…
Then people being ushered into the house. My mother in a room somewhere sobbing. My father at the table surrounded by people. My sister and I left if a house full of people talking about death. I offered refills on drinks. What else was I to do?
I didn’t understand. It’s almost 15 years later and I woke to the sound of my mothers screams. A night full of nightmares that weren’t just a dream. The words chanting in my head, “it’s him, it’s him, he’s dead…”
Face set in stone
So composed you’d never know.
But look at their eyes and you’ll see a different story unfold
One of grief silenced by others needs.
One of pain bleeding into agony.
A silent scream leashed tight.
Until numbness sets in and they began to change. Not so you’d see or even notice until it was to late.
But slowly, over time, they evolved. They remained to those around them strong, steady and sure. But deep, down inside, they were unraveling.
Unraveling for all the feelings left buried and never expressed. For all the lost words and lost care.
So they picked up a pen and started to write. They bled into the paper what could never be right. Each character written from a cut deep inside, a wound that had went unattended for to long a time.
Until the paper turned red and their face crumpled in tears. Wet trails down their cheeks to the paper below as a silent sob escaped. Their fingers turned white from being clenched into fists.
Tomorrow would be a new day and the tears would be gone. But tonight the moon called and the words bled out with the tears held to long.
In my mind I try to picture him, and each time his image slips away. It’s like a nightmare that never ends.
I reach into the fading light with all my heart, trying to at least once more picture his smile, remember his laughter.
But as time goes by, I realize that the pain of losing him has dulled if only by a small amount.
I woke up this morning and it was if the world was washed in a fog, and then a pain so intense it seemed almost blinding entered my head.
And as I cried myself into a heavenly exhaustion. I realized that each day that passed his picture faded a little more.
My memories of him are buried deep inside a place I rarely visit. And I am left with what once was. But will never be again.