Loss and all Its friends

When I grieve, I do so in abject silence and solitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t weep or that otherworldly sounds don’t split my chest open: they do. I just crawl away to do so. I let every emotion spill over and through me until I myself become water. And without a doubt, I can’t put a word to ink when I am going through it.

I am at the acceptance part of grief right now. There have been three knocks that I have had to open the door to. One of my former youth group members, I used to watch over, died unexpectedly at the tender age of 17. The editor who was reading my manuscript finally got back in touch to kindly tell me ‘not this time.’ And my husband’s cousin, who had become my dearest friend in his great big extended family, passed away. I had just seen her in June and thought I had all the world’s time to visit over the summer. Like all best laid plans, that didn’t happen.

Now I stand on the other side of it; able to unravel the knots in my mind and think thoughts again. Sometimes being slow to speak is the kindest thing we can do to ourselves. There was no framing this all into a discourse on eternity; after life and souls for me, I simply just felt their loss.

In that place I heard the words I read in summer 2020 when C. A. Boseman passed: “Take your time; but don’t waste your time.” They have transitioned into a place that used to terrify me and have nudged me to carry on and keep living.

Yesterday I re-read the editor’s email and saw all the light she littered in it by offering me a way to make my book ready for re-submission. Perhaps not to her, but to another editor, at another time.

So, I have pulled out my old notes and a fresh notebook and allowed my mind to open to the world it was creating and go back to flesh it out and make it richer, deeper and truer. To make it a world lived in and worn through, but always with human beings making their way through life at its core.

There’s no deadline this time, which is never good for me. I work harder and better under pressure. But perhaps that isn’t true: we’re all under a deadline and I need to finish this work before my time is finally up.

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