I need to remember this
So give me one last kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say goodbye
I carried a basket of clean clothes into my bedroom and started to methodically pair up the socks. A familiar melody began to stream from the speakers in the corner, and my throat tightened.
Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world...
I sat on the edge of the bed, a thin crew sock clutched in my hand, and the tears came. It seemed like such an awkward, unbidden moment; the tendons tightened in my neck as I fought against a wave of raw, naked sorrow.
I was folding socks. I'd just eaten lunch, worked on some financial aid forms with my daughter, started the washing machine. Where did this come from?
It's a beautiful, glorious day - the sky is, indeed, a deep blue, and I am busy, for sure, and a little stressed, for sure. But why this gut-wrenching grief that causes me to lean on the dresser while tears fall, because I hardly think I can stand? Why now? Why this moment?
No reason, I suppose, except the familiar strains of a melody and a surge of memory; a cd, a box set, lent to me with care. Friends sharing favorite music. A flashback to a concert and a song sung; a partnership, a singer and his accompanist, a struggling girl and a warrior.
And a raw, gaping wound of loss. What it means to be without.
The end of the innocence.
Hurt is deepest when the love has been strongest. It is this season, I suppose, where my years have caught up with some of what I thought I already knew, and now I know things in my soul to which I have, up til now, only given intellectual assent.
I know that missing somebody is a pain indescribable.
I know that joy can live with sorrow, two sides of the same coin. Two chords in the same song.
I know that one day, I will grieve again. I cannot escape.
I know the love of a man strong and true, and I know that the future will bring a day when one of us will be left to mourn. And it will tear a ragged edge in the heart of that one, while the other soars to eternity. Part of the daily grace is bound in the knowledge that this is, indeed, until death do us part.
I know this loss, an acquaintance that I did not know prior to this great friendship. I am friends with this pain. My tears flow hot and humid, and I cannot swallow, and the clothes remain in a jumbled pile on the bed.
I know this loss, because I have also known this love, the friendship of a good man with a strong arms, good taste and the voice of a well-lived life. I would not trade that for any such happy-ever-after.