I saw her. Her steps were heavy. Every move cautions, as if each move threatened to shatter her brokenness. Somber, every facial line etched deeply. Her frame and movements seemed ancient compared to her real age. Her beautiful body bowed, like she had just been hit in the stomach and all the breath was zapped out. She seemed unapproachable, quiet…her mind far, far away.
She spoke softly, almost in a whisper, almost as if she didn’t have enough air in her lungs. I had no idea the sorrow and the pain she held deeply, reverently. We would sit for coffee, often. At times she spoke, but mostly she listened. There, yet, absent. Her red lipstick always on point…she needed color, somewhere…anywhere.
Cautiously, briefly, she opened a window of her soul to me. We entered a sacred place…her garden. Filled with color, serene, holy. In the midst of her vibrant garden was a memory garden filled with the most mundane of things, yet each was set with purpose, with care. A bench, a bird bath, a cross, an angel, and lots and lots of miniature roses. Oh, the tears, the memories, the talks that garden held. We stood in silence, it was a sacred moment. She shared that her 21 year old son had gone off an embankment; that she had to identify his remains; that she missed him; that this was one way of honoring his memory. I gasped, I couldn’t say a word, but felt privileged that she had allowed me into the sacredness of her pain.
Many, many years have passed. I now sit in my own memory garden. Mine has rocks with messages, butterflies and plants that attract butterflies. My daughter loved butterflies. I put a rock with her name on it…something about her name.
My dear grieving friend, how much you taught me through your silence ❤