I have nothing intelligent to say about death. Only that it hurts, that sudden gasping void, and that for those who are left on this side, the healing is slow and confusing. There are days that feel better than others, when you can look back and be grateful for all of the time that you did get to spend together. But then there are the other days, the days that you feel so damn angry at the whole world that you get to live out your life and they didn’t. The days when the guilt surrounds you and sinks in, and you make a list of all of the things you could have done differently. There are the days that you bury your grief, when you disconnect and do anything you can to not feel anything at all. And these days go by, and the ache doesn’t necessarily stop, but you start to get better at navigating it. You start collecting tools and practices, like tumbled sea glass on the beach, each reflecting a new light, a new way to ground and to feel without breaking. Soon your pockets become full of these practices, and while there is still room for your grief, but now it is held, it is supported. And maybe one day, you realize that it is okay for that grief to live there, that maybe it was meant to, and that it keeps you connected in a different way. And that you now have the power to meet it instead of running from it, and maybe that within that darkness, there is a light, and you now have the grace to hold that space within yourself for both. And maybe the next day is hard again, and then maybe it gets a little better again. And day by day, we do this work to witness our own healing. Here is what I can say: my greatest lesson in grief is to be there for one another, to those you love as well as strangers. Remember that requests for help are often subtle, and sometimes silent. And remember that you are given this one life, and that so so many people are robbed of that gift too early, and it is our responsibility to be a voice for those who don’t have one, to be the hands that hold each other up when we falter, to be the arms that comfort and protect. We need each other because we are in this together.
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