Have you ever listened to a friend talk about loss?  About the ‘first Christmas’ without mom (dad, brother, child, fill-in-the-blank)?  Do you remember thinking, “Oh boy that must be tough.” but not really “feeling” the toughness of it?  I do.

It’s so different on the other side of the conversation.

A month ago I watched my dad die. It wasn’t a romantic ‘passing away’.  It wasn’t a brutal or violent death either. It was definitely a transition from one state to another. It seemed a little unexpected, but I haven’t been around many dying people either.  The Doctor gave him 6 weeks, 6 weeks ago.  (Dad didn’t know that tho) From what I understand as far as lung cancer goes it was better than most.

But this post isn’t about that. It’s about holes.

Holes, voids, left when people exit our lives.  Sometimes they are little holes.  People we didn’t know well or who weren’t very impactful.  Elvis, your great, great aunt Phyllis. Others leave more significant holes – a baby at birth.  Then there are the ‘biggies’: a parent, sibling, best friend, child…people close to you – who walked through life with you.  People you let change you.  People that filled a certain void in your life.

When they go that void isn’t just left unfilled, it seems to grow exponentially. It might be because while we have people with us we don’t really pay attention.  We don’t mark the moments, the mundane, everyday, ‘nothing new’ moments the way we should. We don’t realize the gravity of the relationships in our lives.  Maybe it’s just too overwhelming to think about all the time.

I’m a pretty visual person.  When I think about this coming weekend (Easter) with the family I imagine our family as a lame horse, limping along.  Or a wheel with a big chunk out of it.  They both still move forward, carrying on, but it’s choppy in places. At least that’s how it looks from the outside.

From the inside, the injury creates a void that eats away at anything near it. A big black hole.  If you live in that void, the pain of it sucks the life out of you.  If you ignore it altogether it comes after you. And so you have this limping sort of life.  Happy/sad. Normal/awkward.

If we explore it long enough the void expands beyond our capacity to understand or reconcile. Tears seem an inadequate solution to something so big.  But sometimes that is all you have.


Friends who listen

…and blogging. 😉


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