Writing is always helpful in times like these. It's the actual posting of what I'm writing that I worry over. And a post like this in particular.
Silas's sister unexpectedly died last week. Her funeral was this morning. I've not been to many funerals in my day, thankfully, but I've gotta say, it was the most beautiful and inspiring one I've ever attended. I was fortunate enough to have met her a couple of months ago, so when I sat in the church and listened to all the kind, funny, and wonderful things her family and friends said about her, I had a very real sense of how true they were. She seemed like a very cool lady, and that is saying the very least.
I sat in the back row with my mother, and from across the field of heads and shoulders between us, I could see Silas with his non-mournful, life-revering pink sweater up front. I kept my eyes on him much of the time, willing him to turn around so he'd know I was there. I wanted to be up there beside him, holding his hand. As he went up to speak about his sister, I wanted to whisper in his ear that he would do great and that I loved him. But instead I just listened to the stories. I closed my eyes and listened to the songs and prayers, and stifled my tears, lips quivering.
At the cemetery - the kind I hope to be laid to rest in some day; lots of trees and little ponds - I stood with Silas and his friends as the casket was lowered in to the ground, and as we got to pet the little dove before Silas released it, and the others as they followed to the sky. It was lovely. The whole thing. Silas and his brother did a great job of making the funeral a celebration of her life, and of keeping the focus on the quality of it, the way she unabashedly lived it, not the untimeliness of how it ended. They did a great job of honoring her and I'm so glad I got to be there.
For days now, I've been in a funk, feeling disconnected, out of place, lonely - wanting to cry, but not. I squelched them at the church, I squelched them at the cemetery - so as soon as I got home and had the chance, I took Grams's car up to the park so I could let the tears out. I couldn't keep them anymore. I sat in the car and screamed and cried and had many words with the Creator. And as I left there I did feel better. But still, tonight, I walk around the house feeling like I could start crying again at the slightest provocation. The tears are right beneath the surface, I can feel them. It feels like anything, at any moment, could nick me in the most innocuous of ways, and I'll be bawling again.
It's a little embarrassing to admit how self-centered I am. Instead of focusing on Silas and his loss, I'm focusing on my loss of Silas. I'm thinking of how he doesn't seem to need or want me around anymore. I'm thinking that I should have been there with him today, beside him every step of the way, not like some random mourner sitting in the back row. I'm thinking that I lost him and it's all my fault. I'm thinking how terribly I've let him down. And then after thinking all of that, I think what a selfish bitch I am for thinking these things at all. How dare I be sad at a time like this! My loss was self-imposed, after all. His wasn't.
So what do you do? What do you do in times like these? These are questions I asked God in the parking lot today. I promised that I'd listen. And these are the answers that I've begun to hear this evening:
You keep crying until you don't need to anymore. You sit down and write. You listen to your favorite music and you sing, or close your eyes and sleep. You count your many, many blessings. You take one breath at a time, one moment at a time. You remember that you always make it from here to there - you always have, you always will. You love from afar, if need be, and know that Love is not capable of being diminished. You act with selfishness or fear until it takes its leave of you - and you forgive yourself and let yourself off the hook when you realize that it has. You remember that there is not one right way of doing things, and that you're always doing the best you can - even when you're "not." You remember that you are loved and never alone, even if it sometimes feels that way. And yes, until you don't need to anymore - and that time will come - you cry.