A Winter of Loss

When you lose someone,

Your grief winds around you like a heavy scarf.

The weight of it tightens your throat and deadens your words.

It muffles the sounds of people passing on the street,

The sounds of laughter, or cars driving by,

Or the concerned and hesitant inquiries

Of friends. It all sounds the same.

Pain— an endless horizon of blank white snow.

You trudge numbly through the drifts,

The monotony interrupted only

by bright pin-pricks of agony:

Drops of crimson blood, blossoming stark against the snow.

Lost in the blizzard, you think the world has ended.

But no, the world has not stopped, has not paused.

Does not wait on your pain.

Does not see your tears or hear your whimpers in the dark.

The world moves indifferently on.

Only your world ground to halt, stopped spinning on its axis.

Only your sun flared and died.

Only you walk in a twilight winter of loss,

While those around you feel the warm breath of spring.

And that is perhaps the worst betrayal of all.

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NPWM Day 30: Coffee with Sadness

I finally sat down to coffee with Sadness.

Too long had I ignored him,

Screened his calls,

Looked past him on the street,

Filled up my calendar

With anything and everything.

I am a master of avoidance.

But Sadness is relentless;

He will not be put off.

So I met him in a bustling coffeeshop,

Surrounded by the murmur of conversations

And the whirring of espresso machines.

And for the first time in a long time,

I looked him in the eye,

And I didn’t look away.

I didn’t run

Or change the subject

Or pretend he was anyone other than who he was.

I made myself sit with Sadness,

Listen to the soft cadence of his voice,

And hold his gaze with unwavering eyes.

He is no easy companion,

But there is value

In facing him,

Resting in his presence,

Knowing him.

And when I finally looked at him,

When I let myself really see,

He started to look a bit like Peace.