There has been a lot of loss in the past week. People near and dear to me have lost loved ones, mentors, teachers, and friends. I have lost an important friend. There is a lot of hurt, a lot of stumbling around trying to regain footing on a terrain that no longer feels familiar, and a lot of love. Amidst the brokenness there is the all important reminder that NOW is the right time to tell those you love that you love them. NOW is the right time to do all of those things you keep putting off until the right moment.
I have been struggling to find the right words to express what this last week has felt like for me. I thought simply sitting down and beginning to write would allow the words to flow…that has not been the case.
Last night I found myself with no plans and nothing urgent that needed tending to. I felt exhausted from connecting and reconnecting with those grappling with the loss of the one near and dear to me who has departed. I kept getting stuck in pause every time I attempted to reach out to those working through the grief of loved ones they have just lost. I turned to Netflix, because I wanted to be alone, but wasn’t ready to truly sit with the emotions settling just below the surface, waiting for a quiet moment to erupt. I needed something funny, but I also needed to be reminded that I am not the only one who has experienced tragedy. I am not the only one who has had the wind knocked out of her to find, much to her surprise, that she is still standing and breathing, and life has not stopped.
I stumbled upon the series, Grace and Frankie, the story of two women whose husbands, longtime business partners, reveal they are more than business partners and leaving their wives to start a life together. These women, played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, are the female, modern day version of the Odd Couple. An unlikely duo that, through heartbreak, humor, anger, confusion, and even joy, manage to support one another. The main characters, all in their 70’s, and the dissolutions of 40-year marriages, reminded me of the impermanence of all things.
I watched several episodes of Grace and Frankie while eating homemade vegan pizza, missing real cheese, despite the fact that real cheese does not agree with me and I do not agree with real cheese dairy farm practices in this country. I was fully aware that what I was missing was far greater than shredded mozzarella made with dairy. I contemplated making another pizza, but couldn’t recall if I had eaten too much or too little throughout the day. I thought of how my friend would have made fun of the vegan cheese and the fact that I was drinking white wine instead of red. I wondered if she would have liked Grace and Frankie or thought it a trite comedy. And that was when it hit me…I will never know.
I wish I had something profound or comforting to offer up to all of those who have recently lost someone dear to them. Mostly, selfishly, I wish I knew how to better reach out to all those in my life moving through their days with hearts filled with grief right now. It is times like these when I wish I could hold steadfast to some belief of what happens to us when we die. The truth is none of us know what happens, that is perhaps why there is so much fear, confusion, and grief surrounding death.