Loss of a loved one – no matter how they are lost – can be the most debilitating pain. For Christy, loss came all at once. When she lost her father in 2011, it wasn’t something she saw coming.
Recovering from two surgeries with the doctors happy with his progress, he passed from a genetic blood cotting disease no one knew he had. Surgery had made the risk even higher.
“He was here and then he wasn’t. None of us got to say goodbye. I think that was the most difficult thing to deal with. I had so much more to say and it didn’t help to say it to him in my head.
I was angry. I was bone-numbing sad. I cried. A lot. Then, just when I thought I was getting a handle on it, something would trigger another bout of grief. Sometimes it was nostalgia, but sometimes it was more like depression. I needed to write my feelings down so I could let the deepest part of my sadness go.”
First drafting a poem about how she wanted just one more day with her father and what specific day or memory she would return to, Christy went through several different versions before she found her voice.
Wanting to express her own interpretation of the stages of grief and how it changes, grows, her poem resonates with any kind of loss we may suffer.
At first it steals your breath –
your very reason to live.
It feels like you’re trapped in a box.
Your heartbreak closing in and making you feel claustrophobic.
You can never seem to catch your breath
and you gasp between sobs.
Your heart hurts like someone reached inside your ribs
and easily sliced a section of your soul off while you were sleeping.
One day, you wake up and awkwardly say hi to your loss,
like a new neighbor who’s just moved in next door.
You wave and begrudgingly acknowledge
the ever-present nature
of the new guy next door who wants desperately to be your friend.
“Let’s chat! How’s life? Pretty sucky, right?”
he seems to say every time he gets a chance.
You hate him and his friendly smile.
Then the loss seems to come in waves.
You’re fine one minute and then crying the next.
Who knows what sets you off:
the movie you wish you could talk about together,
the memory of a debate about a book character,
the intense need to hear a voice because you can’t quite remember the timbre of it,
the ache of needing one more hug.
Eventually, with time, love surrounds you
like a soft, warm blanket.
You don’t hurt as much;
you think more about the good times.
You smile as memories dance before your eyes.
Loss doesn’t feel so lonely anymore
because love keeps you company.
You don’t sit in the dark
because now you can walk out into the light and feel alive again.
How do you handle loss? Share your story in the comments below.