And so the tissue-thin skin
covering the scar, sealing in the hurt and anger and grief
and burning, scalding emptiness
has stood well against the test of time.
Or so I think.
A famous sportsman has a skiing accident
A businessman dies in a London underground station
Another throws himself from a tall building in the City
A famous actor’s life is cut short – snap – just like that
And the delicate strands of the healing unravel, tear, gape.
The wound is opened, the bloody depths are revealed.
My throat stretches and aches to keep back the tears
and my eyes burn.
I am reminded that grief is not a path from A to B.
It meanders, traverses peaks and chasms, navigates switchbacks and
launches me into the air.
My parachute is gone, only ropes snaking my ankles –
freefall beckons and just, just when I think I will hit the ground
I am yanked back, ligaments and muscles tearing with effort
to just keep going.
It’s the hardest work I ever imagined.
Because that sorrow, that jolt, that catch of breath isn’t for those who have died, or are unaware.
It is for the souls left behind, making new patterns out of just getting through
wanting it to be temporary-permanent-over-never to end.
What’s left on the other side?
It is this. Just this.