How to Wrestle With Sorrow
If you have to mourn, do it on a screened-in front porch of a tin-roofed house on the cemetery side of a small southeastern town, on a day when raindrops plunge from the sky like suicides off some cloud-obscured bridge, ramming their determined little heads into the pavement as if they are on a mission from God. If you can’t escape grief, invite your dogs over to curl by your side, dogs with round brown eyes lifting now and then to make sure your sobs mean you’re at least still breathing and dinner may be delayed but not cancelled altogether. If you cannot beat back the heaps of sorrow layered like so many socks stuffed into a drawer, no not one more minute, then put on your absent lover’s flannel shirt against the chill, watch the sodden redbud blossoms wash down the street’s sudden asphalt river, spit out every curse your father ever uttered, and a few you’ve learned from friends he would never have approved of. Blow your nose so loudly you startle the hormonal robins wading through wet grass in avian lust for worms or nesting materials; their silly feathers dripping, beaks bright as lanterns. You’ve been there. You know. If you must give yourself over to lamentation, do it right: keen all the names of those you’ve lost, offer up what shattered pieces of heart you’ve got left; question faith, justice, and the point of creation in a world that worships the un-dead. But just remember this: it was real. That hatchet of joy sunk into your chest? That opening up of the sealed tomb? That sliver of connection to your own immaculate beauty and strength? It was all real, every bit of it. And once known, that is a wound you’ve earned, a brilliant seed sown that no one can ever uproot.
Deborah A. Miranda