My dear friend, Kate, lost her older sister very unexpectedly just two weeks ago. Kate lives in New Orleans and it has been hard to be away from her in this time. As we cried together tonight over the phone, I couldn't help but think about how short life is...how, in an instant, your life is radically different from what it used to be. And will never be the same.
Those close to me know that I have always been borderline obsessed with making sure that the people I love know exactly how I feel about them all the time, every day - how much their life and their presence in mine means to me. It is the possibility of the unexpected that drives me to this. I am terrified of that phone call that Kate experienced - it takes your breath away. It makes you crazy. She said that she screamed a scream that she had never screamed before and wanted to run out into the street with arms flailing because she didn't know what to do with herself. Now, she just feels alone...so alone. No one understands. No one knows what to do. And unfortunately, this usually means that no one does anything at all.
I have no idea what it would feel like to lose a sister. None at all. But I have lost. I have felt and experienced great loss, both through death and circumstance. And I definitely know what it feels like to be alone...to feel so much all the time and to hold that so very close to myself because the truth would be too much to say out loud. So alone I stand. Oh, Kate. My heart aches for you...I love you so much.
In the presence of darkness, stand tall. Allow yourself to simply be. Try to let people in a little bit at a time, but be careful about who you choose. For the treasure of an open heart can be easily abused and mistreated...misunderstood. Know that you are loved. So loved - and at the end of the day, if you stand in your own meadow of hope and awareness of who you truly are - it won't matter so much that people don't understand. For you will know by this who desires to love you for where you are at. And though this awareness will never replace the one you have lost, it most certainly will plant a seed that will - in time - create a deep peace within your soul that whispers to you in those dark moments - "You are not alone."