There will come a time, a day, a moment, when words are not enough.
When the letters hooking to other letters and tying themselves
each other, the trains of vowels and consonants chasing each other
out of my mouth, just won’t do justice to the avalanche that you’re
If this is that day, if there are those moments, I will not speak,
but I have no choice but to leave you with these attempts, as futile
as they might be, for words are all I have to offer,
and the only currency I believe in:
This is not, and never will be, a goodbye. You should not, and never can
hold onto the should haves or could haves or why didn’t I’s.
The time will come, I promise you, for all of us to stop wearing these bodies
atop these souls. The time of taking one long, full and deep breath
in through these lungs only to exhale it out through brand new lips.
The last light we will ever see through these perfect and beautiful eyes,
will be the first light, the exact same and blindingly gorgeous first
light that filters through new irises and shocks our tiny pupils
before we blink. What a gift every single day in between has always been.
What a hauntingly painful and sublimely joyous gift to live, truly live
every single day in between these firsts, and yes, these lasts.
Do not carry the weight of all you did not say, the times you did not make
the time, or the excuses you made, because there is a secret you must know:
Those that leave us, Never do. They see us how we never could, and how we
were always so scared to. When they go, bravely stepping into the first day
of their new lives, all they pack into the bags they choose to carry,
are the memories that soothe their longing and settle their aching bones.
It is we, always we, that carries the luggage of regret and burdens of doubt.
Somewhere, right this very second, they are beginning their journey back
into love. Somewhere, right this very instant, the first wobbly steps in their
search has begun again. Somewhere, the only person that truly makes sense to
them, the only person to ever exist and exist exactly for them, is waiting.
You will hurt. You will cry and you will be scared. You will miss and long
and ache and look for their fingerprints on the life you’re going to lead
without them. You will swear you heard, if only for an instant, the sound
of their laughter or the timbre of their voice. This is ok, and more than
that, this is beautiful. Hold onto the sadness you feel like a trophy.
Hoist it high above your head and shout to the photo that is not being taken
of you, that you loved them, you will always love them, and you are proud
of the tears that roll down your face. They live inside the memories that give
shape to those tears, and you must never apologise for your sorrow, nor your
joy, when it too returns to your days.
These are the words for those that remain. For all of us and all of you that
are left scrambling and shaking and weeping tears of compassion and joy and
confusion. There are words when words are not enough. I say them because I
must say them, because words are all I have to offer besides my shoulder and
my hands and my belief that this is not and never will be goodbye,
Today is, and always will be such a perfect day to say goodbye,
and to once again, say Hello.
The first time I read these words, my heart remoulded a little. There is something so soothing, finding the words that kind of the fit the new shape that your life has become. It doesn’t matter how long ago; it doesn’t matter the age, a loss always hurts. You can try rationalise, classify, even try rate it – but it will hurt all the same. Time may make it easier to swallow – but it will always still feel a little rough. How can it not?? When someone you loved dearly; who helped shape and define the person you have become; when you lose them, how can it not be painful? You worry that their imprint will somehow fade with their passing; and you look for those pieces of them you felt were always there inside you; you hover over them protectively, never wanting anyone to touch it, lest they forever affect it. You hold onto those pieces, and stand guard; you don’t even let the light in, for fear that too will dissolve it. But that in itself makes the very thing you were protecting, change. It is so hard, figuring a way to deal with loss – because it’s there….e-v-e-r-y day. It never leaves and gives you a minutes peace. You’re reminded every time you try and move about your normal routine – which isn’t routine or very much normal anymore. Because there is a huge something missing. A giant chasm in your day; in your life; in your heart. But not your head – which keeps reminding you, “this is your new kind of normal”.
It’s funny how you learn to live with grief. You do the socially acceptable thing, and make sure you package it up all nice and perfect in the respectable amount of time, so no-one else has to see it, or be reminded of it anymore. But it still sits, like a dead weight on your sanity. I’m not ashamed to say, I still cry about it. That some days I rage about it. It doesn’t matter that she had aged to a point that society decided that it was a fair amount of a life to be lived – she was still too young for me. I still needed her. My mother still needs her. It doesn’t matter that at the last, she was so tired and sick – because that isn’t how I remember her – I remember the loving, generous, joyous woman who inspired me. And life just isn’t the same without her. I get scared some days, that the little memories and idiosyncrasies in my memory of her are corroding, and I am loosing her all over again. I thank goodness I can speak freely of her with my mother – that in that small way, she is remembered. And honoured. I mourn for the fact that she wasn’t there for my wedding, and won’t be there to one day meet future great-grandchildren. But they will know her – from every photo, every memory, every little thing that I have, that I keep concealed away. And although it isn’t enough, it will have to be enough. This new kind of normal, that after all this time, I’m still getting used to. This new shape is my life.
I love you muchly, my Nans. Forever and always…