Yesterday a good friend of mine told me that the baby inside of her died and today she must go to the hospital and give birth to a dead fetus. She was due in March and we had been exchanging playful emails about pregnancy for months. It was horrible news and I didn't know what to say. Sometimes even a wordsmith is speechless in other people's pain. So I told her I love her, I would be thinking of her and I am here. It was all I had to give.
I wish platitudes about loss were as simple as they sound, "time heals all wounds." I would be the first to use them when my friend tells me she lost the dream inside of her. Or when my young friend tells me how she lost her mom to an accident. Or my older friend called to tell me her daughter was killed by a drunk driver on the 4th of July. Or when my brother left his own child whom I love with every ounce of my being.
I have studied Buddhism over the years because I thought it would help me to distance myself from pain and suffering. However, life made sure that I would have my fair share of both. The times when I have convinced myself that I am above the pain are exactly the times when I would wake up at 3 in the morning in the presence of my own pain with no one to call. I could not escape those intense moments when the absence of that special someone enveloped me in grief.
I don't believe that you rise above loss with time, or that grief won't continue to creep up on you in those quiet vulnerable moments when you miss the one you lost. But I do believe that loss creates a wrinkle in time that disrupts our daily routines and opens the door to connections that were never possible before that moment. I know some people close down in this moment and let their grief swallow them whole and make an impression on everything they do. But when our hearts are shattered we have that much more surface space to deepen old connections and create new ones. It is in the times when our world is shaken to the core that we have the opportunity to open our core to the unknown. Just as grief will not lessen with a cliche, love will wait for us on the other side of the unknown.