Choosing loss as my topic for this post was easy. Sitting down to write about loss is a wholly uncomfortable prospect. I sit here, looking out my window watching the gold finches and American blue birds flit through our oak trees, landing in the bird bath to splash water all over the baby tears growing beneath and I cry my own tears.
Who amongst us has not experienced loss? Who has not felt that punch to the gut, to the heart, to the soul that loss delivers to us no holds barred?
I don’t even need to think about it to know what losses are there. Loss is a catalog of pain and heartbreak. We all have a list written in invisible ink on a scrap of paper we carry around in our chest pockets. The slightest little whiff of memory can send tears down on that scrap exposing our list of losses. Exposing for all to see that we are brought low in pain with our loss.
Loss leaves us heavy on the floor. Deeply connected to the earth. I can feel my connection in the world, to the world, to the earth and all its inhabitants through my loss. No one is immune. No one gets out of jail free around here.
I had a brother. He was fifteen when he hung himself in my mother’s garage on a snowy morning just three days away from Valentine’s Day.
I was twenty-one at the time with a newborn baby. At the funeral my family was trying to keep it together. We were stoic. Waspy as ever. Standing tall in our going-to-church clothes. I held my newborn baby girl in my arms. I could bury my face in her blanket as I hid my tears. It was embarrassing to cry in public and it certainly was not the thing to do.
The church was filled with family and friends. Many of whom were friends with my brother. It felt like everyone’s eyes were on us and it was hard to stay controlled.
As the service began, my sweet baby girl, Chloe, started crying. Her fussiness led to wails. I tried to calm her, but she would not calm. I tried to soothe her, but she would not be soothed. My discomfort, my sorrow, my inability to soothe my baby or myself was becoming overwhelming when my step-father leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Let her cry Sara. Let her cry.”
She wailed. She cried. She sobbed.
Her little lungs filled with the sad air all around us and she spoke for all of us with each wail. What we could not share publicly, she did for us. Chloe was our talisman. Our mouthpiece. As she sobbed and wailed, we all silently sobbed and wailed with her.