One of my goals for 2015 is to spend more time writing. Therefore I started the 52 Weeks Project, a project in which I post one short piece I have recently written every Wednesday in 2015.
A few people I knew passed on this week.
A friend’s mother.
A 39 year-old teacher who taught at my high school.
What is it that we do in these moments? I will write it down so that the next time I am searching I will remember.
To start, we recall good things about those who passed. Funny memories, lovely memories. We hold someone’s hand. We make a friend a cup of tea, and are present with them when they weep. Or perhaps we are the ones weeping, cradling an un-drunk mug. We spend extra time hugging our loved ones, and memorizing the lines of their faces.
We think repeatedly, “I’m so sorry you died.”
And then we simply let our hearts ache in grief. What else can we do? We let it come in and overwhelm us like a powerful ocean wave, again and again, until we are all that is left, raw and bare on the shore.
I wish we lived in a world in which great fathers and sweet mothers and talented teachers and wonderful people didn’t die, that every loss of wild and beautiful life was only something we dreamt in the night.
Yesterday I hung photos on a wall in our home. Many photos, an entire wall full, all of the same subject—me and my husband. On our wedding day, canoeing on the lake, playing with our dogs. We’re caught in a thunderstorm, inside a photo booth, laughing.
When I finished hammering the last nail, when I finished placing the final image, I stood back and really looked. I reached out and rested my fingers on a wooden frame. Inside the frame, happiness is there, in my husband’s eyes, in my smile as wide as the moon.