I took a walk tonight and almost didn’t make it home before big sloppy tears started to fall on the landscape of my face. I headed for the bedroom and the box of tissues. Propped two pillows behind me and let ‘er rip. My nose stopped up immediately and W. C. Fields looked back at me in the mirror.
I patted the other side of the bed and talked to Bob. “I miss you so much,” I said, saying lots of things about feeling alone down here. I seldom cry much anymore but lately I do. I understand more than this old body can handle. Sometimes it just breaks down and goes into emotional overdrive. You can only live through so many days absent from a long-lost partner without the tears raining down.
I walked into the kitchen and confessed to my son that I was grieving. I told him about my dream last night. “I dreamt that Dad and I were divorced and we met each other somewhere and he was going to follow me home. Then I woke up and realized that he was dead.” And I begin to cry again. My son is like all men; it’s hard for him to see me cry but he certainly understands. “You don’t get points for being strong in this world,” I said. “No,” he added, “people don’t like to see brokenness.” True enough.
Our friend John Fox, of Poetic Medicine, had part of his leg amputated when he was a child. Out of that loss has come a lifelong ability to nurture wounded spirits. He works with all sorts of people who are ill and suffering. To sit in a circle and write poems with John is one of the most healing experiences I have ever had.
It goes like this.
First you feel the loss
and then you try to stuff up
This can’t be done so you
begin to describe it in great detail
but never manage to get the job done.
One day the sun comes up and you
realize that water is still wet and you
are still here feeling the loss and you
start all over again.
But now you have become a writer
unafraid to commit to living your life
with a hole in it.
And the light informs you from then
You still cry from time to time.
But you know how to write rings
around the loss.
It’s a crackerjack of a life and the
prize is illusive still.