I always seem to get the worst news on a beautiful day. I’ve looked longingly out hospital windows at a flawless afternoon, where the birds kept on singing and the sun kept on shining from a startlingly blue sky as if to say, “No, everything’s fine with us, thanks!” Meanwhile, my own life slumped in agony at my feet.
Funerals for me have never been like in the movies, where umbrellas seem to sprout from the gloom like black flowers. In my life, the day has always been heartbreakingly beautiful as if to taunt me. The message is the same: Life goes on. You are alone.
Some of the greatest beauty in my life has been refracted through tears, like looking through glass blocks, because of course it’s not really crying if you hold your eyes wide open and refuse to let the tears spill out. We can’t be expected to bother others with our grief when it isn’t theirs to bear. That woman’s voice made me ache. It’s the voice I’ve forced out of my own mouth when something horrible had happened and I was struggling to function normally in a world that was lucky enough not to have to share my pain.
I looked up, and for just a split second, our eyes met. The abject agony I saw in her eyes at that second haunted me, haunts me still. She had Prison Camp Eyes.
I’m still upset, though I’ll never know for what we grieved, are grieving. I’m sending her my best wishes. I want her to know that life doesn’t really go on, unconcerned. Sometimes it stops and grieves too because it knows that we are all in this together. After all, we’re really only taking turns.