As part of the Messy Beautiful Warrior Project, I’ve been reading many of the thoughtful, inspiring, and vulnerable stories of fellow contributors over the past several days. I have been deeply moved by the courage that so many of these women have shown in painful situations, including some situations that connect directly to a piece of my own story. Their words have evoked my memories of the darkest time in my life, but those memories have brought not fresh pain, but rather an awareness of healing.
Today’s poem is for all those warriors who are fighting the pain each day. Here’s to hope.
They say “time heals all wounds.”
I think that’s true.
Near eighteen years past loss, and I’ve moved on,
lived nearly half my life,
and I am healed.
Yes! Even blessed.
No longer mangled by the ripping pain…
This week I’ve read so many tales of loss
by messy, beautiful warriors carrying-on
through the agony of darkness, barely gone:
a failed parent,
a bi-polar diagnosis,
a father died too young.
And each could be a trigger,
a sharp slap of memory:
of a Dad who couldn’t love me back,
of tortured, hurricane emotions,
of the final and irreparable loss.
I find that I am not undone.
I read the stories with deep empathy,
knowing the pain involved
but when I write my own messy beautiful tale,
Dad’s death was only a small footnote,
not the controlling center.
Ten years ago, it certainly would have been,
The healing is not quite what I’d expected, though.
It has not made me whole,
returned my heart to its uninjured shape,
perhaps with just a scar to show the hurt.
Instead, the hole remains, unfilled.
Dad was and is still missing,
from my wedding,
from eighteen Christmases and birthdays,
from my children’s memories,
and that “missing” is a gap within the fabric of my life.
The miracle of time, of healing, is
that broken threads of love have been rewoven,
the edges of the hole no longer frayed.
My heart is not the same, how could it be?
But… it is whole.
The hole of loss has grown to be a part of my heart’s shape.
And in that hole, that space that can’t be filled with life that carries on,
there is now room to carry