When my dad was close to his last days, and the cancer had ravaged his body, I started to make a list of all the things I didn’t want to forget.
A list of all the memories that I was afraid would slip away.
A list of the moments that shaped me in some way or another.
I tucked them into my notes section in my phone and cried as I wrote them, alone in my living room, knowing that my time to make new memories was coming to a close.
It has been an entire year without new memories.
An entire year without a phone call, or an email, or a “Hey Lainers.”
Grief is like a deck of cards that we hold close to our chest—never to reveal to the wrong person.
The only problem with this is if we never let the world see our grief then we can never put the cards down. We can never step away from the table that has taken our happiness.
My deck of cards weighs heavy in my pocket. It is always there to remind me that I am not whole—that I am missing a piece of myself.
Sometimes my pain feels so intertwined with my memories that it feels like the only way to stay connected; the pain keeps me close to him. It reminds me that I have lost something beyond finding. But there are days that pain swallows up my light until I can no longer escape the darkness.
So, today I choose to lay my cards down, face up, in all their horrible glory.
I am hurting.
And to be honest, I am hurting a lot of days. And that’s okay. Because our pain is only a reflection of the amount of love that courses through our souls.
Because at the end of the day, every dream, and every imaginary conversation is just a new memory I have made with my father.
His heart may not beat in these memories but it echoes within me every single day.
And this pain is a beautiful reminder to how much my heart was touched by another soul. How lucky am I to have loved and been loved by someone so much that the sting rings loudly in my ears every day?
We are not full of pain.
We are full of love.
And with love comes the eventual pain of letting go. Letting go of the futures we had imagined and of memories we thought would come.
If we let the world into our grief, we will find that the other players at the table are also holding decks close to their hearts, wishing someone would ask them to put their cards down.