As a child I grappled with an innate sense of loss. It was as though I sensed all the loss that awaited me.

When I was ten years old, my sense of belonging was dragged out from underneath me, as my mother slipped away from my life one hot summer night. My sisters and I were sleeping soundly while my father slept drunkenly on a hammock on the front porch with a revolver in his hand.

And just like that, my life changed forever.

From then on, I experienced life as a continuous loss of everything that I’d so desperately grasp a hold of. Everything and everyone seemed temporary and the uncertainty only exacerbated the sense of loss I’d always felt.

My intuition was right and I’ve known a great deal of loss. I lost my home, my family, my innocence, my childhood, and my sense of wonder.

But I hadn’t know loss in its full extent until I saw death. First, my father passed away. Then, my oldest brother.

It was only after that that I realized I couldn’t live life guarding my heart from loving those around me for fear that they’d eventually leave me because that is how it’s supposed to be. We are each meant to walk separate paths, and if we are lucky, our paths will cross with that of people who will add value to our life, even if only for a brief time.

I realized that we are all dying a little each day. That our journey in this body is only temporary and that people leaving me had nothing to do with me, it was what they were here to do and I am better for some of their paths having crossed mine, even if it may not have been for long.

It’s taken a lot of living for me to figure out that my parents weren’t bad people. I know now that they were only doing the best they knew how to do with what they knew.

I tiptoe into my children’s rooms at night and I watch them sleep and it soothes my soul, regardless of how rough my day may have been. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for my mother to make the choice to walk away from my sisters and me the night that she did.

Every time that I see a drunk person sleeping on the street, I see my father in them. They are strangers with the power to evoke within me an all too familiar wistful feeling… And I can’t imagine living the way they do, just as I can’t imagine dying the way my father did.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I may never understand my parents but it’s alright because I am not trying to do so, anymore. I don’t have to understand them, I only have to love them.

They were two people fighting their own battles, with each other, and for themselves. I cannot fathom how difficult it had to have been for them to do some of the things that they did and my heart fills with gratitude for them; for all of the things they did for me and for all the ones they didn’t do.

Life moves on without those we’ve lost along the way but if we learn to be still, we find that we carry within us the love we thought we lost when they left us because love is what we are and it transcends time, and life, and death.


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