We picture ourselves in a field. It is barren, yet beautiful. An aching wells up from within us, which we cannot describe.
We are standing in the center of a vast expanse, surrounded by a forest of pain. The trees are alive, yet dead. They haunt us in their bold, inexplicable silence.
We are alone, yet we feel their presence. We are aware they are no longer with us, yet we cannot purge them from our memory.
And we would never want to.
You were here. You caressed us, fed us, sheltered us. You provided a refuge of grace, an offering of forgiveness.
You assured us in our impermanence. You brought a light to the fore. You tamed the horrors of our minds. You enlightened what had laid dormant inside of us.
We detest what has occurred. We lament for them. We plea for reunion.
She was at our side. Her touch awakened us. Her eyes transfixed us.
She was not the only one. There were so many.
We are now pilgrims. We wander the alleys of despair, feeling a supreme desire to join them.
Though our calling is not diminished. The pain attempts to conceal it, but it cannot.
We enter a state of cognitive dissonance. Our senses become heightened. We ache for them to be returned to us.
How do we carry on when our knowledge of their absence has scourged the essence of our souls?
A chasm of loss exists that is so vast it can never be filled with anything but sorrow and love. This seems to be contradictory, yet it is not.
It is the way of grieving. It is the path to bearing witness.
Who do we trust now?
We want to trust ourselves, but pieces our beings have been severed. Perhaps we can trust you, yet we cannot be certain. Nor will we ever be. In some moments, we feel you have abandoned us; your abandonment was evident in their passing.
They are no more. Spirits of love that haunt us in perpetuity.
At the same time, you acknowledged our grief, you offered yourself to us, you sheltered us, amidst the greatest darkness we have ever encountered. You took us by the hand and raised us above the horizon, to the white shores of home.
Home. The place we must return to, without them. They cannot come. Not yet.
We must move forward, involuntary pilgrims in a sea of tears.
In our encounters with others, we feel like aliens. Part of us has been amputated.
We are offered a platitude. We respond with aggression.
We are offered a truism. We respond with indifference.
We are offered a smile. We respond with horror.
They do not understand. But, alas, neither do we.
We are just as foolish as they are.
Thus we beg you, come with us, our God, if you are here.
Don’t be there. Be here.
Fill us with graciousness. Allow our empathy to tear through the walls of shame that have afflicted us with impunity.
Carry us to safety. Provide shelter such that we may engender cracks of love in our loneliness.
Lead us to those who need us.
Provide solace for those who have been taken from us. They will never cease to pierce the depths of every being they moved during their lives.
Shine a light of your majesty upon them.
Envelop them in your adoration. Cleanse them of their pains. And bring them home.
They are not mere memories.
Life is not an illusion. It is the greatest reality of all.
Never allow us to forget.
They were real.