Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Dark Station


            When death comes, we leave the world of light behind and enter a world of shadows.

            Colors mute to gray. Sounds are all in the distance. Even if it’s sunny and in the eighties, the air feels cold and we wear a jacket. Food tastes like cardboard, so we don’t eat. Everything we pick up is rough to the touch, so we stay home. Our world shifts into slow gear.

            When death hits, the world becomes a noisy commuter train with flashing lights, clacking rails, and packed with people chatting too loudly. Then we’re standing alone on the platform after midnight in an empty station at the end of the line. The darkness and silence are a relief because the world has become too loud. Too bright. But finally we can breathe.

            At first nothing seems to be here. Nothing moves. Our eyes adjust to the darkness and stars emerge. Their stillness brings presence to the long, empty hours. Each star seems alone, separated by light years from each other, but as our eyes adjust, we detect the thin, gossamer threads that connect each star to the others in the constellation.

            Tonight, as on every night, hundreds of new people are getting off trains in dark stations around the world, feeling alone as they watch the stars. Waiting. We sense others who are grieving around us, even though we don’t know their names or where they live.

            Someone leans back against a hard wall, waiting for the cab that will take him away from despair over his child’s death.

            Someone lies in bed unable to sleep. She cannot touch the empty space beside her. The loss of his physical body is too stark, and she refuses to pretend that his love never was.

            Someone is in his backyard watching for meteors, remembering when he used to watch for them with his wife, waiting for some sign to tell him that it’s okay to let go and move on.

            Someone is on the bus going home after the closing shift, watching streetlights flash by, seeing the dark houses where people are asleep with their families, and wondering if she will ever be a mother, if she will ever risk trying to give birth again.

            Someone can’t leave the loneliness of the beach after the sun goes down, a beach he used to walk with his father. The sounds of the restless ocean wash in, then flow away, bringing the only presence he can feel, the only thing that calms his mind.

            It takes courage to face the darkness, but we are a community that lives in the dark world. Waiting.

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