I didn't want to be alone.
But life plays mean tricks sometimes. Plans fall through and people fail you and you turn the key in the lock and open the front door and it all falls down.
We have to go through the hardest grief alone sometimes. Door opened, and my house was empty and the tv couldn't come on quick enough to fill the silent void. And I crawled on the couch, because it had all found me, the moment I stepped in the door.
Grief scared me to death. Like so many monsters who are terrifying without a face or name. Grief lingered around that corner and I was certain that if I faced her, she would kill me. If I let her show her face, she'd never leave.
But there she was. Asking to be seen, asking to be held.
And I curled up on the couch, with post basketball game commentary humming in the background, and she crawled up there with me.
Out of the shadows she came and her smallness devastated me.
But she came and stayed a little while. Curled her body up against mine as I wept tears, which had been hiding under the surface for more than a year. If my boy had been here, he would have wiped the tears from my cheeks and told me it was okay. "Don't cry, mommy. It's okay."
But Grief let them fall. Finding the hollow place in my belly and quietly letting me feel the dangerous things.
Salty, swollen eyes kept searching for someone else to walk in. Someone to save me from this ritualistic necessary. Somehow I simultaneously knew what was happening would both wreck and save me. But getting there felt heavy. An ocean of water above my head, pressing on my lungs.
She invited me to the thoughts. To hold them in my arms and feel their weight and examine their nature and decide where they belong. To rename them, so I could find their place.
Secrecy is not the same as privacy, Grief reminded me, as I counted all of her fingers and toes. And she began to whisper about how, no matter how much I had feared she would, she would not be staying.
I whispered I was sorry. Through tears and swollen eyes, I suddenly bemoaned how little room I had for her. That somehow I had not made more space for her to stay. As she prepared to go, going seemed worse than the staying.
It's not okay, but I forgive you.
Feel all of it, she encouraged me, so you don't have to feel it anymore. Let me in, she had said, so you can feel something else. And the bright lights became fuzzy. What had been dizzy, bright, and cold I was then allowed to put behind me.
It was time to feel something else.
In the quiet, basketball commentary bleeding into 11 o'clock news, I went to bed. Navigating a jungle floor littered with Siberian Tigers and Brown Bears and Black Panthers.
I woke up this morning and she's gone. The hollow space in my belly has folded over on itself and all evidence remaining is in my swollen face.
More dark rooms are coming. I have more doors to open, leading to unknown spaces. Spaces where room needs to be made. Spaces, which are asking to be filled. Spaces where maybe the light will come. Spaces where the monsters hiding their faces in the corner need a name.
So much bravery is required for the filling and the redeeming.
Grief left and made way for the courage though. Her forgiveness left room for the good.