Monday, October 3, 2016

What Loss Does to You

You'll wake up on a Monday to a text from one of your best childhood friends. She'll have taken a photograph of a lined journal page with handwriting that is still trying to figure out who it's going to be.

October 14, it will read. I love Nick Duff.

She will share it with you -- talking about how she rarely wrote in it, but his name showed up. And so did yours. And she wanted you to see it.

You'll wake up on a Monday to a text from one of your best childhood friends and realize that you've been apart from her more than you've been beside her in the last ten years. But she may understand your spirit more than even you can sometimes.

And something inside you that's felt loose flirts with feeling grounded for the first time in a long time.

You'll answer her - he was so easy to love, wasn't he?

And it's true. Because he was.

You'll think about the trajectory of your life since that cold, January day when you weren't asked if you were ready to say goodbye, but just said it anyway - the finality of the compound word weighting your tongue down in a way that left you deciding you didn't want to ever speak again, if it meant you would have to utter it more than just this moment.

You'll think about all the days between that one and now - the girl you were and what she believed in. You'll think about the relationship that flourished as a result of a life cut short and you'll feel conflict rise underneath your collar bone - because how can the most difficult experience of your life also have been the event that led you to getting to know your favorite human?

You'll think about the boy who wiped your tears as they laid your beautiful cousin in the ground and have to bite back a laugh at the knowledge that those two people would never know each other the same way ever again.

Because that's what loss does to you. It breaks off pieces of who you were mere seconds before the life you once knew detonates. Every moment following that is deciding whether you have the time to budget and the energy to spare to get to know the people who held you up when everything crashed, again.

You'll think about that boy - Nicholas - and his now nephew who looks and acts and speaks like him. You'll think about the growing boy you never see enough, but love more deeply every time you do, and you'll pray high and hopeful he will one day hear Nick stories that make him giggle and want to know more.

He was so easy to love, wasn't he?

You'll think about the boys since that day - friends and lovers and boys dressed like men who sling stones of ignorance at beating hearts. You'll forget the ones who didn't deserve your love and then you'll ponder those who were easy to love like Nick was.

You'll look at a picture of a blue-eyed man who took you to Dewey's on your first "date" and then somehow became your best friend and person and complete confidant. You'll feel a pull in your chest because he is the easiest to love, but your story - you and his - they don't play beside each other in the same zip code any more. But he makes your life more rich than you ever knew to ask for.

You'll think about a brown eyed boy - growing and getting to look less like a boy everyday - who calls the other side of the world home. Your heart will physically ache - daily - because the story called you two into the same narrative, but a God who knows better is asking for you to be comfortable with the distance. He is a selfless kind of love you didn't believe existed within a heart torn and ragged like yours.

You'll wake up on a Monday to a text from a childhood best friend and you'll realize that time changes everything - feelings and intentions and the very souls our skin folds around in this world begin to transform and disfigure. You'll start coming to terms with the fact that there are relationships and moments in your life right this very minute that are morphing and there isn't anything you can do to get them back. So you lean into the hurt and trust that it'll be okay. You'll wonder how easy you are to love and then roll your eyes. You are difficult. And that is that.

You'll wake up on a Monday to a text from a childhood best friend and you'll think about her wild, curly hair and the ways everything is picked back up right where you left off every time you're together. You'll consider that the two of you - your spirits of wild and wandering - are far more alike now than they ever were when she wrote that little note in her journal so long ago. 

You'll wake up on a Monday and realize loss is simply a part of the storyline. Time and distance will require adjustment. Annual trips will help to make whole years apart easier and so sweet. You've said goodbye before - you are not immune to the mortality or finality this world requires us to shoulder.

You'll wake up on a Monday and get in your car. You'll drive to the first place that was home - simply to find footing in a season that feels unsure and scary and untethered. 

You'll admit you feel lost. 

You'll confess that sometimes you like it. And other times you're convinced it will surely choke the life right from your chest.

You'll wake up on a Monday to a text from a childhood best friend and, without even realizing she's doing it, she'll pull you back down.

She'll pull you back down.

You'll wake up on a Monday and you'll allow it.

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