“I wish I could say you just get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole in me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it.
As for grief, it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come ten seconds apart and don’t ever give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find that the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But, in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything – and the waves come crashing. But In between waves there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, Christmas, a family gathering, another birth. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, spluttering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
Take it from an old friend. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks. Scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh. Scars are a testament to life. They are a testament that you can love deeply and be cut, and gouged and continue to live.”