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On Grief and Heartbreak

Self Portrait (Grief)

October has been a rough month. Recently, many people (myself included) have experienced devastating heartbreak and grief as a result of tragedy, violence, natural disaster, and death. Grief has a way of depleting one's energy resources way more than can ever be expected or anticipated. As a result, I have chosen to share the following poem in lieu of a personal blog post this week.

How We Survive

© Mark Rickerby

Published: August 2008

If we are fortunate, we are given a warning. If not, there is only the sudden horror, the wrench of being torn apart; of being reminded that nothing is permanent, not even the ones we love, the ones our lives revolve around. Life is a fragile affair. We are all dancing on the edge of a precipice, a dizzying cliff so high we can't see the bottom. One by one, we lose those we love most into the dark ravine. So we must cherish them without reservation. Now. Today. This minute. We will lose them or they will lose us someday. This is certain. There is no time for bickering. And their loss will leave a great pit in our hearts; a pit we struggle to avoid during the day and fall into at night. Some, unable to accept this loss, unable to determine the worth of life without them, jump into that black pit spiritually or physically, hoping to find them there. And some survive the shock, the denial, the horror, the bargaining, the barren, empty aching, the unanswered prayers, the sleepless nights when their breath is crushed under the weight of silence and all that it means. Somehow, some survive all that and, like a flower opening after a storm, they slowly begin to remember the one they lost in a different way... The laughter, the irrepressible spirit, the generous heart, the way their smile made them feel, the encouragement they gave even as their own dreams were dying. And in time, they fill the pit with other memories the only memories that really matter. We will still cry. We will always cry. But with loving reflection more than hopeless longing. And that is how we survive. That is how the story should end. That is how they would want it to be.



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