Grief, I don't know you too well these days. Where are the dreams where my brother comes alive and then you wake me up, wrenching him from me like the night he died? Where are your morning shadows? Are they no longer big enough to block out the sun? Where are your hot tears on the pillow when I fall asleep? And the sight of the moon and stars. Why don’t they cut deep anymore and break open little sister missing big brother?
I go days - weeks even – without thinking about Aaron. Is this healing? When the sunsets can just be sunsets and nights in the woods don’t throw me into a turmoil of tears .
My greatest teacher in life has been grief. And perhaps, my friend too. Grief and I have walked hand in hand many nights in the woods, exchanging subtle glances with moon when there was no one to hold my hand when the tears wouldn’t stop falling.
So many nights spent aching to hug a body that no longer existed with the stars sometimes giving answers and the darkness reminding me of what’s real. Aaron, I’ve cried a lot of tears for you in the woods. Beside lakes and waterfalls, in canoes and tents and on cliff-sides. At sunrises and sunsets. Flooded all of it with my love for you.
But these days, grief and I have become more distant friends. Is this what time does when we let our hearts feel even when the pain cuts deep? Now, there’s something deeper and more complex than happiness in grief’s place.
Dreams sweet, evenings on the deck writing, cloud and bird watching, and a hot mug of tea in hand. I feel a deep appreciation for this life. The tender moments that bring a smile to my lips, the wind on me face that reminds me to laugh and the memories and present moments of joy that are now rooted in my heart as deep as sadness once was.
Sometimes we have to let go to be able to hold onto what lies in front of us now. That’s one of the things grief has taught me.