Loss is a crippling thing.
My eyes scroll over the Facebook post for the 100th time, and the words do not register in my mind. I do it again and again until it sinks through; I have now lost a second loved one in the space of a month.
30 days of healing until I felt that all too familiar icy blade sinking into my heart once again. My fingers tremble and the disbelief, the shock, the realization all rolls over me like being caught in the towering wave of a tsunami.
The phone rings twice and my mother refuses to pick up. I can feel the anger start to boil inside of me. Another life, another person so viciously stolen from my life. Have I not endured enough? Have I not tasted that bitter metallic taste of copper that clings to my mouth as I try to fathom what has happened? Is it my fate to live a life of loss and embitterment?
Phone rings, and the sound of my father fills my world, immediately calming the raging sea of tumbling emotions within me. With his first word, my name, I feel it in my throat. That block of tears and choked emotion racing to overflow the dam that has held them back for so long. It drives me to my knees as I rush into the bathroom to hide from the world outside. I try ever so hard to hold them back, but the dam is broken, and the tears flow freely across my face.
I try to talk to those I love yet no words can come to me. What words can convey this soul crushing feeling that weighs me down. What words can describe the vast emptiness that suddenly overtakes your life, your very presence. What words can describe this insatiable urge, this mental itch to wallow in misery and let go. Pain and loss has become inseparable from my existence, my purpose, my reasoning, my very fiber and being. Pain and loss are all what I understand, and are all what I am. I hide behind a smoke screen of humor and apathy when pain and loss are I feel and all that is left for me to feel.
I see myself once again walking that long hall to the hospital room where they’ve all lain before. The clipping sound of my feet crackling sharp and swift against the cold black and white floor like a whip striking me across the back. With each step closer to that room, the pain from that whip grows stronger and stronger, as if its wielder is brimming with sadistic hatred. I can feel the coarse fork of the leather bash into my back, the pain spreading across my body like a molten lava fever. I wait for that familiar acidic burning smell of disinfectant and the blaring sound of machines to assault my senses, and yet nothing comes. A deafening silence rules with an iron hand only broken by the sound of my footsteps that are more and more muffled as I inch across eternity.
Suddenly, I stand at the door, body wracked and crippled with pain, my palms covered with a cold sweat of remembrance and knowledge. This flimsy wooden door is all what stands between me and shattering truth that I know will crash the world around me. I can already see the cold stiff corpse that I’ve seen so many times before. I can see the blanket over her face as if that white sheet is an erase button that should make us forget what has truly happened. Let them breathe is always my first thought then I realize there is no breath ever to be taken. No longer will anyone ever feel the warmth and tenderness of her enveloping hug. To think this chubby woman will no longer hobble on her cane and smile with that northern star at the edge of her hazel eyes twists the knife deeper into my heart. My gut coils and wrenches as I realize the deafening silence that smothers me shall no longer be pierced by that once-annoying and now-endearing strike of her wooden cane.
Without a sound that damned door swings open, as if it is all too eager to bring forth what it has prepared for me.
And I step inside.