A Love Like That. {Poem}

I will never forget hearing the phone ring. It was early. I was sleeping in the living room because all of the bedrooms were taken.

I knew. I smiled. Not out of happiness, but in defense. Smiling is the socially inappropriate thing I do when I feel the first wave of grief.

I knew, I knew. I curled into a ball and turned my back to her, pretending to be asleep. Bracing. Preparing for her reaction. I heard her slippers shuffle hesitantly on the carpet as she walked to the phone.

It spread from her like an earthquake. She was the epicenter.

Her voice quivering. “When? What? What?”

I couldn’t look, not yet. I heard them all, my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. Their wailing shook my core. I peeked around the corner, they were huddled on my grandmother’s bed, rocking back and forth.

It was then, I realized they had no control.

I knew, I knew he was dead.

Their father, the love of her life was gone and I had the privilege of watching them mourn. I stayed hidden for a while. Not because I was afraid, I wanted to be invisible to watch what happened without being mixed in it.

I was nine at the time, if you’re wondering.

They were all numb, numb and inconsolable.

An hour later, I stood in the kitchen, just a few feet from where she sat. She looked up at me, like a puppet being manipulated. Her voice was flat,

Your grandpa is dead.”

“I know.”

I stood there in plain sight, unseen by grief’s blinding might. She went back to doing what her routine demanded.

She ate her oatmeal as she did every day, but today she looked empty, yet aching. It was clear, no morphine could save her.

Amidst my own sadness, I remember thinking, “I hope I know a love like that.”—A love that destroys me when it’s gone.

Grief doesn’t discriminate, no matter what your education, background or belief is. When the person we love the very most in this world leaves, the grief left with us can be so fierce we feel insane.

True love lives. It’s not illusive, like we think.

It comes to those who follow their gut, those who share their erupting feelings. Sometimes it happens early or later in life. One just has to believe. Do not give up.

How do I know? I’ve witnessed what happens when someone I love loses their soul’s best friend over and over again, although I have yet to experience it myself.

I know what I want and it is this—I want a love like that, even though I will be struck by death’s aftermath.

A Love Like That

 

Death of any kind

Grief tailing behind

The ego

On his knees

Undulating up and down

Up and down

Fear wailing

Homeless and suffering

People become our place

Our home

And when they go?

We feel abandoned

Completely alone.

I’m a fool for thinking I had, I owned

Everything I thought I knew is no more

I disbelieve now,

You stole it away

You are

The ruler of fate.

We spiral

Spiral out of control

Understanding we had none at all.

This realization begins

An inquisition

Like a hungry little child, we beg

Why, why, why?

This is the plea, the question.

What is this body?

And where did the one go?

The one to which, I surrendered my soul.

A living, breathing, beating human being

With a fragile, fragile mortality.

An existential quandary

Yearning,

To touch the real

A need to feel

To attach to another

That’s where we are safest, under their cover.

Love, love, oh so sweet

Then it leaves,

An inevitability.

There are no walls anymore

We are left a pile of bones

We can’t ignore,

What we are here for—

To know love and pain

And the love that lifts us up

Back to life

Until,

We forget

And we love time and time and time again

Only to learn the same —

Grief awaits us in every breath

We are meant to endure loss

With no explanation

No one can save us from this hell

There is no fix

No religious creed or intelligence

There are only two things that help us mend

That’s love and time,

The greatest healers.

Grief does us, not the other way ‘round

We have no authority over nature

Forced to bow down

To the power that overtakes

When our haven escapes

There is a glory here we can not see

We are grieving, shared divinity

Which exists when two humans

Connect to the root of the root

Their hearts intertwine

The world goes mute.

To grieve is to proclaim a love so deep

That few have the privilege of knowing

Because most are asleep

I yearn for the day I’m on the floor

All because my true love is no longer

Those who have experienced this loss

In my eyes,

Are the blessed.

Though at first, it’s excruciating

Day and night, time and space

They fade away

Leaving a wake

Of despise

For the one still here

It becomes a life, unrecognized.

It’s like being dead but with pain

Anguish, love’s lasting symptom untamed.

But listen, shhhh…

The Angels surround

Assuring,

“It wasn’t for nothing–

You loved,

Are loved

Don’t you see?

I am you, you are me”

We can’t hear them, not right now

With the sound of blistering

Burning ache

Bellowing out

Unprepared for this terrain,

This journey.

I hear it said, love is a risk

I disagree

There’s no risk at all

This is how life is meant to be.

It’s an absolute, a fact

Your love or your life

Death will attack,

Left with a void

Pitch black

The squeezing

The suffocating panic,

What to do next?

All we can do is take a step

When living stops making sense

We deny love too

But the love never left

Only ego

And its power over you

The Angels say,

This is a welcomed theft

Then, love floods back in

To help protect

As we do our job

And drop to our knees

Until sorrow

Disgusting sorrow

Turns to peace

The more we grieve

The more we love–

The love we lost

And the love,

That overcomes

Although life will never be the same

This grief will become a memory

You will reflect, one day

I was the lucky one,

To know a love like that,

Your brave healed heart will say.

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