A friend died this week. I won't go on and pretend she was close to me--but she was a lovely, kind person, and I knew her and her husband through several areas of my life. Her son was a few years behind me in school--though, judging by what I knew of him, lightyears ahead of me in intelligence.
Fucking cancer. Fuck.
I saw her a few weeks ago, sitting in her car in the parking lot of our Co-op grocery store. I chatted briefly with her husband inside. I'd see them around town, or at church here and there, and I knew of her illness for awhile. I never had the courage to come right out and ask how she was feeling, but I always made it a point to tell her she looked great and I meant it.
One afternoon in the spring I passed them as they enjoyed a sunny day on the patio of my favorite coffee house. We exchanged hellos and a little talk, and they said how sorry they were for our loss, for Calla. I thanked them in my weird, stumbling way and moved on.
I guess I don't have much of a point to this tale, except that I feel so sad for them. It's as though I can only connect to others through grief anymore, and that sucks. Yep, I'm genuinely happy when things go well or perfectly or even as planned for everyone else. But that happiness is, and always will be tinged with hints of sadness. For us.
But the sadness of others, I feel it. The despair, the sorrow, the unfairness of it all. I get it. Yes, we all grieve differently, and for different things, and I won't pretend that my grief for a dead baby is the same as someone mourning his wife or his mother. But I do get it.
And the crazy thing about it is, I almost feel like it's a gift. I want to wrap my heart and arms around anyone who's feeling this pain, this sadness, help soak it up and live it with them. I couldn't have done that before Calla died. I didn't get it then.
This is, by no means, a wonderful thing. But it is a thing. It just is what it is. I am so saddened for these kind people, for her friends and family, her sons and husband. I'm sad I won't see her smile at the Co-op, on the street, at church. I won't hear her sing again. But I am most sad for her family who has to keep on living every day without her.
Love to you, L., and P. and your sons. Love and peace to you.