Hey little one, your grief can be here. Sit beside me. Your sadness roars like a rushing river – loud, flowing, scary. It swirls and surges. Sometimes it pulls me along. I let it carry me with you. I don’t feel that terrible pain you feel. But I feel you.
I see when it’s anger. You stomp and grunt and make blustery sounds, irksome and irritating and full of rage.
I see when it’s darkness and you hide. Under the table. Behind your defiance. Beside your very large silence.
I see when it’s confusion. Your tired eyes speak of anxious nights far from sleep.
I see when you shine, giddy with relief when something distracts you and pulls you away. There is room for happiness too, of course.
Oh little one, I can only give to you. I can’t take it away. This grief is yours to carry.
I give you books to devour. Papers to rip. Walls to push. Staircases to race with me. As we run, you chase the heavy feelings away. For a while.
I give you space and calm. Patience and my hand. I forgive you when you stand close to me after hours of explosions. No need for words. It’s over for today.
I give you stories where you can see yourself. We read them together and let the images wash over us like a huge wave that soaks us and then slowly recedes back to the sea. I read them aloud and then leave them with you. Other children reside in those pages. They too feel your anger and pain and sorrow. Like you, they try to protect memories. They search for a way to hold them pure and safe against the inevitable fading.
I watch you as you find yourself in the angry eyes of that little boy who wonders why all those other children can walk hand and hand with their mothers just like he once did with his. I speak it for you when you think you shouldn’t. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. It feels so wrong. You are lighter after these books, not darker. Meeting the truth, nestling into it, gives us some temporary peace.
So little one, grieve here. Grieve loud. And soft. And bravely. I know it’s now because it wasn’t when. I know it’s ugly because it hurts so much. I also know that in small moments, it might be beautiful. When a memory comes along with a smile. Tell me about her dark hair. What she called you. Those words she said. These things are yours. Say them out loud and they become stronger. I want to hear.
Now little one, feel safe. I don’t judge your unexpected ways. Grief has no road map. So little and so alone, your path is especially treacherous. You have moved past the land of sad and stunned. You no longer live in a world of quiet and compliant. You have reached the place where this grief floods all that you are. It pulls and pushes. Sometimes you fight it. Sometimes you sit and refuse to move. Sometimes you kick everything in sight.
You are in it. It is the boat you must steer to shore. I imagine you there floating in the rocky waves. Shrieking back at the squawking sea birds. Watching day become night and night become day.
Sometimes, I cry because I know you don’t. Little one, little grieving girl, I am here.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.