I'm just going to jump right in here...if you need to catch up go here and here and here...but if you already know about Maria, or you've ever lost a friend before it was time for them to go...then just keep going, you'll know just what I'm talking about.
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson
Maria used to call me when it was time to get angry. Even before fucking cancer. When something ridiculous had happened with our crazy boss and she needed to hear her sweary friend do justice to the injustice. Or when her patience was running thin with a toddler but yelling wasn't going to solve the problem. And then with the cancer. I remember once her explaining to me quite fiercely that it was not “her illness” and I was not to call it that. It was cancer, she didn’t want it and it didn’t belong to her. She wouldn’t have taken it if someone offered it to her, and she wanted it gone as quickly as possible.
So when a test came back and results weren’t what she’d hoped for or a treatment wasn’t going as planned, she’d call me and calmly explain the situation. She’d tell me, “Nancy, I do not have room to be sad or angry or negative about this because I can’t have that in me right now. But somebody needs to be mad, so I called you.” I’d spit and swear and get my heart rate up and then she’d thank me and tell me it was going to be ok because she was going to live a long life and she’d be calling me for decades to get angry about all kinds of things.
But she won't call me. We've just lost her. And I'm not angry. I'm very, very sad.
I'm going to her town early this week so I can just sit in her spaces. I want to sit on Park Avenue at the Starbucks and just soak it in. I want to visit the Goodwill Boutique where we scored epic bargains many times. I'm going to sit in Grace's plastic lawn chair that's got a Maria shaped spot worn into the seat from so many hours of love and laughter. I don't know what it's going to be like to sit in those spaces.
I’m going to go to Maria’s church on Saturday. I’m going to sit with her family and her friends and they’re going to talk about her wonderful, light filled life. The pastor will likely have words about her journeying to the hereafter. Some people will be comforted. I want to be comforted.
Right now I’m overwhelmed with the loss. I’m completely distracted by the idea that we have to be here…after she is gone. We have to be here without something we loved so much. Here in this place. Here in this day. Here in this life.
After. This hereafter isn’t comforting to me.
It just doesn’t feel right. And I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know if there’s anything to do about it.
Grief is overwhelming. It’s heavy. All of that love that I have to give to my friend but cannot, fills up my arms and sits on my chest.
Those words of love that I want to speak to her loudly with laughter and softly into her ear, catch in my throat and can’t be swallowed down.
Grief is love with no place to go.
So what do I do with grief? If it won’t go away and I can’t just push through it and there’s no end in sight and things won’t ever be the same and the stages don’t seem to matter and just when I think I’m beginning to collect myself, the pieces start to fall apart again.
Grief is love with no place to go.
I’m sure I’ve just got to keep loving. Keep loving her family. Keep loving the wonderful women friends she brought into my life.
Grief is love interrupted, but not stopped. I’m going to rant, and ponder and be grateful and keep hating pink ribbons and text with her daughters and smile when I choose coffee over tea and wear big, big hats and tell every woman in a Talbots cardigan how they make me think of my wonderful friend Maria.
Grief goes on as long as love does.
We'll never stop missing you dear lady...we'll never stop loving you.