I have a picture in my head, burned there, indelible, scribed there. I suspect if you were to examine my brain scan, you would find this picture. Standing at the cemetery, one day after the funeral, the beautiful flowers shrunken and fading, the sod patched above the dirt; jagged edges, a poor patchwork of green that appeared to have been ripped into tiny pieces, evidence of the lack of care in the removal and replacement of the grass over my niece’s grave. I feel the jagged edges in my heart, in a way I can’t understand and can’t fully explain. I can’t shake it. I feel the pattern of those jagged edges, that rough, careless patchwork of sod in the fibers of my chest. It’s tight, it’s painful. I feel like I should be short of breath.
How do we do it? How do we humans walk away with our loved ones in the dirt? How do we keep breathing when they close the lid on the casket and turn the key? How do we walk, talk, move and work after that? Yet we do. We eat, we breathe, we sleep, we work, we shower, we keep going. I do not understand it. I don’t know where the laughter comes from–but it comes.
The horror of death is overcome somehow with…life! Life somehow lifts us out of the pit of death. Perhaps because it must, perhaps because we must go on living… We have built into us the desire for, the love of, the imperative of life. I have pondered this before…that the saddest of homeless bum, unshaven, un-bathed, lacking in means, in sobriety, in shelter, in love and in hope, nevertheless keeps breathing, keeps moving, keeps living.
And so…despite my patchwork heart, the aching for my brother’s grief, for my sister-in law, for the other siblings, for the grandparent’s the other relatives, for her friends…we keep living. We keep breathing, moving, going, working, playing…we keep living. We pray, we love, we cry, and the unimaginable becomes part of us, the jagged edges remain.