Last night I was struck by an intense feeling of the impermanence of everything in this life. I let it hit me late at night in the bedroom in the dark, safely encircled in strong arms. Ana and I had been to a funeral in the morning for the grandmother of a dear friend- it was sad and beautiful, like many funerals are. What struck me the most is how two people can create so much love together, and while it may end for them, they leave a legacy behind. I had the distinct feeling that it is easier not to love, because when you love you open yourself up to an incredible amount of pain. Perhaps people stay alone out of fear, I mused, as I tried to explain the origin of my anguish.
Grief is strange, how it hits you. It can stay hidden for years and suddenly emerge, or it can be instant, burning you up in its fire. Grief that is yet to come can be felt now, and grief that you have gone through can be summoned back in an instant. One thing is for sure, though it may sound cliche- the only way past it, is through it.
I left my friend with some words by Kahlil Gibran copied on lined paper in the coffee shop by the ocean before the funeral that morning. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. Words like these, I told her, sometimes help me make sense of things. But then there are times, like last night, where nothing makes sense at all.
Without thinking, I made two cups.
Upon realizing, I hurled the blue mug, full of coffee just the way you liked it
through the bay window in the front room.
Birds seated peacefully picking away at the feeders bolted into the air so fast they left feathers floating in their absence,
as glass and coffee and bits of your blue ceramic mug covered their seeds and the bushes below.
Now I was livid, enraged by my own mind, that when I was not thinking you were still there, and my movements, my posture, my tasks reflected your presence.
Angry that I was living my days smothered by an absent ghost. One cream, two sugars.
There was a square of morning sunlight on the floor and I sank down into it- collapsed, exhausted, hearing murmurs of your words explaining why, why you could not stay,
why no space was left in between us to acknowledge the things that broke.
So I have grief now, and I want you to feel it, too.
I fell asleep in the spot of sunlight, like the grey soft hunting cat does on its lazy days.
I dreamed my grief was a wave, thousands of feet high, and I was standing there, watching as it came at me fast, in the slowest motion.
For once, I did not feel fear. I knew I could take it, and die a thousand times more.
Not a single apology more.
Inside the wave now, I am singing a song of two cups. You are there with me, we embrace. I swim up through the water,
and into the sky.