The Empty Space

How does grief feel?

Well... my grief is like... it's like living in an empty space.

A space that was once a room filled with life, where the furniture was made out of sturdy love, scratched by pain, and failures, and new chances. A room where the walls were built on prayers and old wounds, where the paintings on the walls were made out of good and bad memories, and fears we wanted to avoid and hopes we tried to nurture for the future.

That room was a safe space. Safe to love and be loved. Safe to be angry and show our ugliness, knowing that we were not going to be discarded for it. Safe to be broken and to give and receive comfort, to forgive and to be forgiven.

Now, this room is an empty space. But it's bizarre emptiness, is filled with grief, filled sorrow for a future that will never come to be and a present that feels more like a curse than a gift.

This empty space is full of noise.

The "it's not fair" screams of my heart, the constant shrieking of chaotic thoughts that keep me awake at night and confuse during the day.

This empty space is full of anxieties.

Like a pack of wild, terrifying, sick dogs that encircle me, suffocatingly close, disempowering. Blocking any passage to a higher ground where I may get some perspective. 

This empty space is filled with sadness and regrets and guilt.

This empty space is inside of me. It sits in my heart, right in the middle of my chest. It feels like a thin knife pushing in so deep that it takes over and there is no room left to breathe.

But this empty space doesn't stay there, it moves around. Sometimes I feel it in my stomach like the jaws of a shark shredding my belly. Other times it goes to my throat, inside the marrow of my bones.

This empty space is crushingly heavy, reminding me that every special day, every celebration is like a rip current, crashing over me and pulling me away from the shore. I'm broken and helpless under its weight. And when it subsides for a brief moment long enough for me to get my head above the water, another one comes with crushing force spiraling me out of control again.

But this empty space is my empty space and no one else's. 

This is my cross, my grief, my journey and no one else's. This empty space filled with death is where my life now resides. And this life I have left, be it however long, however unfair, however disappointing as it may be, this life is my life and no one else's. So I must learn to be in this empty space and sit with my grief.

I choose today, not because I want to, but because I must, to embrace my empty space and allow death to teach me about life. And allow myself to grieve for as long as it may take, living each day as one step closer to him.

Tatiana HotereComment