(It’s not so weird once you get the hang of it, yeah?)
Even as early as my awkward adolescent years, I believed we are only given so many hours in a day and so many days in a life. If work is a requirement to sustain ourselves and if we hate what we do, then we spend a good portion of life unfulfilled, unhappy, and practicing poor stewardship of our gifts, experiences, and resources. In addition, I recognize a fluidity between work fulfillment and personal fulfillment and vice versa; I believe it is of consequence to be able put your hands to something meaningful. It is also a luxury to have the opportunity and circumstances that allow us to choose our work, and if I’m am rich in this way, I hope to choose well and wisely.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
In the last few years, writing and sometimes sharing in micro-spaces like Instagram have been instrumental for me in finding movement in loss; it’s not forward nor backward, it’s just what it is, as it needed to be in the moment. It has given me a place to focus, process, connect, and now re-visit and remember. In grieving the loss of my brother and two friends, this is a brief glimpse into my journey and the sentiments still ring true. Each journey of grief is unique and precious but I believe we can still be in it together.
"Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters." --Dau Voire
I flew home to spend time with my mom shortly after my visit to the Philippines this past January, now, a different person. I was received so beautifully by a family I had only heard about. It was wild to think that the last time she saw her mom, my Lola, she was my age. I was entertaining worst case scenarios and my greatest fears, compounded by the heaviness of the news of my brother; she didn't know. I felt that news, such as the loss of a son, should be delivered in person, when the comfort of physical presence was possible, and because sometimes everything is said not with words, but in the subtleties of how the brow bends.
I showed up. For nothing else than to simply say, "I’m here." I can't fix it, but I feel it too. Maybe not like you do, mom, but I feel the loss of my brother too. I have questions too, regrets too, feel the permanence of his absence too." To see the face of her grief, and to show her mine. We stood in the kitchen together, over a basket of cut green beans, and let the bittersweet alchemy of shared loss carve into our relationship, a new depth of closeness.
I recently lost a friend to suicide. Loss like this rocks a community, stirs up questions, and sweeps you into the murky waters of "what if..." I've shouted out bargains as a desperate grasping to get back the last time we said our hasty goodbyes, believing our bank of salutations was far from depleted. I've wrestled with this and stretched it to try to see it in different lights for the sake of understanding it. For the sake of accepting it. The truth of the matter is I don't and can't, but I'm trying. I think the I wishes, whys, hows, and what ifs, will resonate deep and long after the bell has been rung.
M, those who know you are left wanting and this world is a few shades darker without you here.
It's been a year. A year since we lost you. A year since the phone call and a year since the tsunami of disbelief laid waste to the shores of those who love you. Healing comes with time--that's the beauty and nature of time, I suppose, but anniversaries scratch painfully at progress and the questions still echo back unanswered. You are missed, M. Even as the tide recedes, the driftwood still remains.
Sometimes I don't know what to do with the pain.
Occasionally, like days like today, I'll take it out and examine it. See if what I think about it has found new layers of understanding. I let myself feel it, to remind myself how much your friendship meant. Sometimes I let the regret creep in, but only just enough to remind myself of how precious time is; to inspire presence. Sometimes I diminish it, telling myself that I have no right or claim to feel as sad or as angry or as hurt as I do. But i do. So I let myself.
Sometimes, I forget that the pain is there because its been tumbled over time like sea glass and some edges don't cut like they used to. Regardless, it's there. And those edges still hurt when they tumble just so; like days like today.
You are missed, M. You were a light for those who stumbled in the dark. And I'm sad it was the darkness that overcame you.
We lost K.
This last week, in the wake of that loss we've searched for ways to give meaning to something that feels so suffocatingly confusing. What else is there to do than to sit with one another as those who loved him most crumble under the weight of inconsolable grief? When the night is darkest and feels like it would last forever, the only thing you can do is share as much of that bitter cup as you can with one another. Grief is an ocean, a friend said to me. The risk of drowning is high when you're left to navigate those waters on your own. The pain of loss is inevitable in this human experience, and it will be required of you to learn how to swim eventually.
Community is everything and somehow in those waters of grief, when conditions are most rough, bound together, we float.
Meishach Moore, 423-717-7177
Shiloh Marintzer-Martinez, 785-285-2496