Will you say to me when I’m gone
“Your face has faded but lingers on
Because light strikes a deal with each coming night”
~ Each Coming Night, from the album Our Endless Numbered Days, by Iron & Wine
Words write what they want, no matter what we think should come next. I looked at today’s prompt and could not write into it. I could not try to mirror the form, or connect with it in any way.
So instead, I let it draw me. I looked at the words “Your face has faded but lingers on / Because light strikes a deal with each coming night.”
How many ways have I described grieving? How many metaphors or passages have I created in order to say the grief is something “else”? How many ways have I tried to make people understand? I went back through some of my own writing…
I prefer the metaphor of another planet. We are all orbiting in the same galaxy, but all distinct. I do not pretend to have visited any of the other planets, nor understand their language of loss.
I saw Grief clearly. She was frail and cloaked in black.
My color is white. Sterile. The absence of color.
I brought a cactus. No one quite knows what to say to me. It is awkward, standing there with my cactus.
My heart is link an impressionist painting. Perhaps beautiful from afar. But once you peer into my heart more closely, you can see the mess. The frantic strokes.
I pictured a seesaw, one of those old-school variety. On one end right now is my grief and it is heavy. On the other end is everything else and I am slowly trying to add things so that they can be even.
I am my heart’s undertaker. A piece was buried with my daughters, scattered as with the light mist of their ashes.
I now realize that I have been traveling along a river. Steady with only minor turns. Until recently, when I was hurled over a waterfall, plunged into icy water, and has to fight my way from under the weight back to the surface.
Grief is a canyon. Layers and layers of unforgiving expanse.
Grief is like the rain. Soft. Hard. Warm. Cold. Sometimes torrential and unrelenting. Sometimes so furious that we cannot see through the downpour.
There is a map on my body, marking the journey of grief. Tired eyes, drawn mouth, scar from an unnecessary biopsy, stretch marks.
Life gave me a lemon so sour that it stung, in the form of losing two babies within six months. I took that wretched lemon and squeezed a drop into a large pool of water. Hardly lemonade.
Death is clear, firm absence of what we knew. That part of our lives becomes irreversible.