When the World Stops

By In Art, Poetry — May 30, 2016

You know that feeling.  The one in the pit of your stomach.  The one that only happens when you receive that phone call, or that text, or that face-to-face conversation.  Sometimes it feels like you can’t breath.  Sometimes you actually stop breathing.  The world turns in slow motion as your mind tries to wrap itself around the news.  Sometimes, your legs become weak and they give-out from under you.  You fall to the ground in a pathetic heap, thinking that, somehow, this is all a dream.  Then the tears come, and all at once you lose control of your body.  All at once you forget who’s around, who might be watching.  From your mouth comes this gut wrenching, agonizing sob.  And you sob.  And you sob.  And you want to die.  Because in that moment, you know life will never be the same.

For five minutes you lie there, those around either comforting you or trying to ignore you.  Then all at once, your sobbing stops.  It’s as if a switch was flipped and your mind tries to gain control of your body, to talk some sense into your grief-stricken heart.  You stand up, feeling controlled, but empty.  You try to focus your grief onto a plan; what is to be done now?  You try to walk five steps forward, but you find yourself on the ground weeping again.

Your mind races.  You think of all of your pleasant memories.  You think of their sweet smile and hear their laughter echo in your mind.  All you want to do is hug them.  Your mind mocks you as you become aware of the absence of their presence beside you.  You try to imagine them there but as you reach out to touch them, all there is is empty air.  Bitter emptiness fills your heart, and the worst part is that you can’t fill that emptiness.

* * * * *

Days pass and you haven’t slept.  You can’t escape from your grief.  You wake up crying from dreams where they are so close, and then are suddenly gone.  You haven’t eaten.  Each bite you try to take is tasteless and makes you want to vomit.  The emptiness cannot be filled with anything.  Not tears, not hugs, not food, not sleep, not sympathy cards, not kind words, not even the sweet words spoken by the pastor at the funeral.  You hate the things that people stupidly say.  “I understand,” and “everything will be okay” become sources of anger rather than comfort.  No one knows.  No one can understand.  You knew them best and now they are gone.  Things will not be okay because things can never be the same.  You will never be the same.

But then you become aware of your self pity.  You become aware that the one you lost would not want you acting the way that you are.  You become aware that there is hope, though not a filling for the emptiness.  So you take it one day at a time.  You are doing better, but there are still days when you become that uncontrollable sobbing heap on the ground.  That’s okay, because you’re not okay.  You find that it doesn’t matter what other people think, that you have to work through this at your own pace.  You find that working through it is not the same as getting over it, because you never get over it.  All you do is acknowledge that the pain is there, keep a picture of them by your bed, and hold close the memories that you made together.

Healing will come, but you will never forget them.  Their absence will always be a void in your heart,  void that could never be filled within this earth.

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