For the longest time I did not know how to survive you.
From the shock, I came apart so fast; I was physically split into two. One half of me was here, marking time and preserving the signs of order. The other half was locked away – broken, severed numb.
My grief sprang up from the earth like pure death; deadly poison. Beneath it, an invisible thread that connected me to you.
Each morning I looked out the window, at the grass and the leaves and the trees. I needed everything to stay the same, and it was, but the colours were intensified, as if marred by a strange hallucination.
I built a paper house and locked you inside; I tried to restore the borders. It was a game I played inside my head to make you seem less lost. I kept the runes of your life beneath my bed; painted them black to stop the names of things from fading. I built a shrine of quartz and amethyst to raise you from the dead.
In the dark, you said you wanted me to follow you. But when the light pushed its way through a crack in the door, I could not see which way you went. The doctor said it was not healthy to make deals with a higher power. But with no hints or facts, no way of knowing what really happened, I had to make my own prophecies.
In the graveyard, the auburn leaves drifted through the air and fell soft against the corpses of winter’s children. The sky was grey and fragile, as if it too was mourning something, perhaps the death of the sun. A year earlier we had walked out there together; past the chipped and broken angels, before the faded plastic flowers lay nestled at your feet.
On that day, the day that you were buried, I walked briskly through the tangled woods, looking for a hint of you in the wild, skeleton trees. Up above, I watched a blackbird drift in perfect infinite circles, and I wondered if it knew what I had lost.
For a long time, I didn’t want to speak. I didn’t want to be seen.
I pressed myself against the wall, like a shadow disappearing. I built myself a tiny nest and hid amongst the thorns. But little by little I began to sense that something was changing. Little by little, my wings took shape and soon began to form.
No one can ever fail at grief, despite its long, enduring passage. And though at times, it feels more like madness or a disease from which one may never recover - no one would ever choose to betray their own life for that which they have lost. The choice it seems, is hidden somewhere in the space around acceptance. To accept that which I cannot change, and to change the things I can – this is the choice I have been given and the choice I have finally accepted.
And now there is joy again in the living - in all things present and past.
To know that I loved and was loved in return; to know that you died with my name on your lips – this is the essence of all things eternal and the thread that will keep us connected.
For nothing, is ever truly lost.
And when we die we say we'll catch some blackbird's wing and we will fly away together, on some sweet blue bonnet spring- Nancy Griffith.