Dear, dear friends and family –

There are things about loss and grief that cannot be rushed. Try as I have to step away from time, she has an uncanny knack for finding me with a stop watch around her neck and a water bottle in her hands, urging me into sweat pants and running shoes, shouting like a personal trainer  to run faster, push harder and dig deeper than I ever thought I could.

As much as I have “trained” in loss in the months since her death, done chins ups on her bars, quivered and panted from the exertion, glowed with the rush of endorphin release after a good session, I am not sure that I will ever not be shocked by the reality that my young, dear, beautiful friend Leah is really gone.

I suppose my lack of correspondence on this matter is more about the unsteadiness of my voice than my lack of willingness to address the words themselves. I’ve got words up the wah-zoo, thoughts and ideas that dart in my mind like nervous fish in an overcrowded pond, I’m just not always so sure how to string them together.

I miss her. She rocked my world in ways both wonderful and wanton. I’m sad. I am moving through this. I feel less sorrow – like I’m moving on, or moving forward and that notion tends to stop me in my tracks with both gratitude and something slightly less noxious than guilt.

Pause maybe…

As I said, I’m still unclear about the rightness of words.

What I have found in the almost seven months since her death is that I feel less compelled to speak and share… Not because I am hesitant to “go there” or afraid to look at rough stuff, but because grief has a way of dulling parts that once shone, and leaving bold and italicized question marks when joy does surface.

Grief is a strange beast.

So I tend to listen more than I speak these days – which all around could be viewed as quite a good thing.

Maybe I speak/write (same thing to me) less because I question so much more. I know so much less to be absolute. And given the choice I would rather speak full-stop truth than spout half-baby truths just because someone is kind enough to read or to listen to them. I want to share what I know to be true, not just a little true – but, like a whole-lotta- whop-bop-a-lu-op –a-lop-bam-boo true.  I want to hit it hard. I want to impact deep and last long like “Tutti Frutti.” ‘Cause when you nail it, it don’t matter what you call it. True is true.

That is one gift that grief has given me… what I do know, I know deeper and I know better. And because so much of what I know now drips through a filter of loss and a familiarity with death – I fear that my voice will be ever tainted by that streak of sadness and the uninvited dings to my silver plated places. I don’t want to be heard as a cheerless, worn and sulky woman… there are so many more parts to me –bursting with fruit flavor- they just haven’t surfaced long enough to let me rein them in. I suppose I’ll have to keep trusting in time for that one.

Losing Leah, watching her go, being a part of that process, and being a continued part of her family’s daily life, well… that kind of living colors everything a shade deeper. So, I suppose it’s no wonder that the things that tend to catch my eye are of the broken glass under the wedding canopy variety… not joy-less, not at all, just a lot deeper and more thoughtful than I ever thought I would be at 37.

I do look forward to the time when I can transition from sadness to joy without feeling jet-lagged.

“It’s been a long, long time coming, but I know a change gonna come.”