Have you ever heard the grief of someone you love? I mean, have you ever heard it? Has someone's sorrow been so loud, so pure, so shocking and rolling and sad, so much so that in your hearing it, witnessing it, their pain soaked into and through you so much so that you became it?
Today I took my friend to her son's grave. Today was his birthday, she wanted to bring roses. We took the wrong exit, got lost. We drove this way, then that. We got so turned around, I had to rely on a directional sense that was fading with every wrong turn. We recognized at last, the street, the long row of trees bordering the property, then the rows of headstones. We recognized, at last, where her son rests. We could see the dirt atop his grave, raw still, piled, heaped, uneven and without sod. We walked toward the stone. She collapsed and sobbed over her walker as we neared. And then she opened her heart to her grief. She howled, wailed, shrunk. She became a tiny object in my hands, a fragile weight I held and cradled and wrapped my arms around. And there the two of us stayed for a time unbroken, two friends, two women under the bright sunshine, a mother beside her son's grave, and her companion with an overflowing heart.
I realized today, the only comfort we can give is that which begins with the heart.