Falling Down

Stepping Through Grief

I process that you are gone -

truly gone -


like a baby taking its first wobbly steps,

unsure and unsteady.


I keep putting one foot in front of the other,

despite sorrow’s extra weight


trying to glue me down

and keep me crawling,


because that's what the world says to do -

Forge ahead…


Keep busy so you don't think about it,

keep walking until you find solid footing.


Fake it until you make it -

until you find your new normal.


Look up, don't look down,

look forward, don't look behind.


Practice makes perfect.

I keep at it.


I fall repeatedly.

I cry from the bumps and bruises of grief’s rocky, jagged stages.


I cry from the unpredictability of each step I take -

from the exhaustion of 2 steps forward, and 1 giant step back,


from the mountain before me that feels as though it may never move,

from the feeling that nothing will ever be the same ever again.


I try to pretend that I am ok –

that I am better than I feel on the inside,


because that’s what I do.

I attack.


I conquer.

I hold it together


so I can care for others,

so I can keep moving forward.


Most of the time

that performance is genuine,


perhaps even Oscar-worthy,

and somewhere along the way


the acting becomes real,

managing to heal me in the process,


until this time...


something’s different.

It isn’t working.


I try gift wrapping my grief in a box with pretty paper and a big bow

and tucking it neatly away, deep within


where it is safe,

contained,


hidden,

protected.


But like a Jack-in-the-box teasing with the timing of its pop-up,

my hidden box still manages to explode


in the most unexpected moments

catching me off guard


shooting snippets of sharp pain,

like a bomber's shrapnel confetti,


right through my heart's armor,

deep into the very nooks and crannies of my perfectly packaged grief,


taking my breath,

stealing my power,


distorting my face

with the kind of sobs and tears I fear might never stop.


When will the hurt stop hurting so much?

When will I be in control again?


When will I be strong enough

to stand on my own and walk


without stumbling and falling

into the rest of my life?

©Chris Colyer

May 12, 2016

 

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