One of the things I repeated again and again in the early days of my grief was, “how do I live without her?” I hear this question from my clients often. This poem that poured out of me after my morning grief practice today is my answer. May it nourish you.
This is how you live without them.
You cry, a lot.
You feel it-shaky, anxious, confused, disoriented, ungrounded.
You cry some more.
You share your grief-it’s too big for your one body to carry anyway. We need extra branches and limbs to help us carry the brokenness and the beauty and the love and the deep, dark belly wails that escape from time to time and surprise even us.
You cry in private and public.
You wear your grief like a precious and worn out piece of fabric-wrapped around you at all times. Shielding your heart from the world and simultaneously breaking it open.
You melt at the alter of your grieving body every day. You do not resist the melting-history has shown you what happens when you do.
You cry even more.
You wrap yourself in the love that is still here, embodied and ready to hold you.
You get angry and pissed off and don’t try to resist that either.
You get annoyed by how even some of your closest don’t know what to do with you now.
You feel tired. Bone tired. Soul tired. All day nap in a warm bath followed by a warm bed kind of tired.
You cry even more.
And then, without trying, your body becomes ready to move in a different way-is tired of the heaviness and ready for play.
And you don’t resist that either.
You talk to god, spirit, the person who died. Ask for their guidance. Ask them how to live without them, beg them to come back.
And cry some more when they don’t.
Your body becomes used to it-these ebbs and flows, waves and pains.
Much as it hurts you to admit it, you see how solid you actually are.
How whole. How rooted. How alive.
Some days that feels cruel. On others it feels like a blessing.
Your only job is to stay present to what is.
There is no arrival point, no final sense of completion.
Your life is here.
Your body is here on the earth.
In some way, you are who you are because of them.
Let grief be your teacher, your lover, our closest friend, ally and confidante.
It’s here for you.
And so is your body.
And so are we.
You live without them by letting life move through you.