8 Strangers

09_27_09.jpgPeace comes tonight in the form of 8 strangers. Mexican and Jewish, white and other, one young with child on the way, one older with a young child, spiritual, long haired, outgoing and quiet, well dressed and unclipped toe nails.

We are strangers. We come together and shut the door, shut the unclear, confusing and sometimes mean world on the other side of the door. The latch releases in its hold and we exhale.

I miss her, he states. I am angry too! she says. I crave to be touched, says another. We all laugh, nodding our heads. We hear, nodding our heads. We cry nodding our heads. We all nod our heads, we all get it, we all understand.

And there is wonderment at the same emotions we strangers share. For now it’s our new Utopia, the closest we can come in this grief to it. This Utopia offers understanding and silence and space to raise our voices, stare out our hands, to sob, to swear, to joke and guffaw. No excuses necessary.

And when we open the door, our fellowship continues in a near-by restaurant, discussing our lives before we got here, what we are doing now that we are here. You have two dates? Smiles. This is a picture of my son, he said. And I look and my mama bear roars and I want to defend that child. I know that I love him. I know that I would defend him with my life and he’s not mine, but he is because he belongs to one of us.

And finally the world pushes in on the clock. We leave. I get in my car and I feel lighter, sweeter – less full of rage, more full of relief and calm and Ok-ness. I drive home – knowing that they are driving home too and I feel safe. If my phone rings tonight, if I make someone else's phone ring tonight, it will be answered and there will be no should, no don’t worry, no you’ll get through this. There will be a space held for me (I for them) and I can cry or they can cry, or rage or laugh or whatever.

They know what it’s like, these strangers. They know my grief because it’s their grief and I love them for that. I love them in a place I have never been before.

They make this journey manageable when nothing or no one else can.

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  • Kim Hamer
    commented 2018-03-25 22:30:01 -0700
    I remember writing this. It was after I attended the first meeting of a local support group of young widows. I had been hesitant about going to a support group, afraid it would make me feel sadder but it had the opposite effect. I didn’t have to explain what happened or hear “I can’t imagine what it’s like.” No one in this room had to imagine it. They were living it, like me.

    I’m still in touch with a few members of that group. We check in on each other 9 years later. I’m so grateful for this group and to Soaring Spirits for the same reason. With both, I realized that my grief would pass and that somehow, even though I didn’t know how, I would survive. They were right. I did.