I have been ambushed by grief again. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was sad. Not just sad, but kicked in the chest can't breathe, sad. It has been all I can do to get out of bed and do what must be done. The dishes pile up in the sink, the laundry goes unfolded, cat and dog hair coalesces into puff balls. I cry as I drink my coffee and on the way to work, where I gather myself together bit by bit and then I cry again on the way home. It takes so much energy to keep the pain at bay.
Do you know how hard it is to swim and cry at the same time? I force myself to swim a couple of times a week. Eventually, my body responds to the warm salt water and I move with some spark of joy, wishing I could swim all day. The easy parts are so few and far between.
It has been bothering me for a week and a half, this sadness. Usually I can tease a feeling apart and find it's source, work with it, move through it. This sadness eluded me until driving home from work yesterday when the chorus of a song caught my attention. "I am a stranger here, just passing through but each new place leaves it's own tattoo. I go along gathering stones, building alters on the side of the road." I miss belonging to someone. As soon as this bubbled up I relaxed into the rightness of it. Now I could cry in earnest. I miss belonging to someone. I miss being seen and known.
At night when I get into bed my heart stops for a moment. I can still feel how we settled into the night together. My arm still knows the shape of his hip and how to wrap over it and up his chest. My legs still know exactly how to twine over his. I know the smell of the back of his neck as I fit my body into his. It is both real and unreal, a body memory that will not go away. I feel half here. I know who I used to be, when we belonged to each other. It's true what they say about two becoming one and when that was broken I was lost. I didn't know how to be in the world anymore. I walk around now with a slowly, oh so slowly, healing wound. Just when I get comfortable with it something rips the scab off.
Love really does break us open. I do not know yet, or truly believe, that we are put back together again. However, because others have said it before me, I have some small hope that I carefully keep alive. In the meantime, my heart remembers belonging to another.
"...and when the work of grief is done,
the wound of loss will heal
and you will have learned
to wean your eyes
from that gap in the air
and be able to enter the hearth
in your soul where you loved one
has awaited your return
all the time."
John O'Donahue (For Grief)