making loss big (9.29am)

i was laid off from a job when i was twenty-something. cutting back. not personal. last to start, first to leave.  it felt personal.  it was a personal loss of my every day routine, my provided for, my i do this well.

when i called a good friend on my way home, holding back tears to be grown up, she responded with words i cannot repeat and i was comforted. no explanation needed, just an expletive that acknowledged how wrong it felt and the big of it to me.


that same friend lost her baby girl at an age when the only remembering should be the feel of tiny toes in the palm of your hand and the can’t help it sniffing of tiny head against chest. it was her twin towers crashing down, the permanent missing from her skyline, the gaping hole in her heart. 

out of touch then, i don’t know the words i would have found for her.  finding her again,  i am still looking for words that carry i see the how wrong it feels. the hugeness of it.


 i imagine the loss of a child is a black hole that seems to never stop pulling away pieces of you. that it is a fight to stay intact for the here and now when the here and now is numb taking taking turns with pain.

in many png villages, when mourning takes place it is a gathering of loud grief—this joining in. on and on wailing that shows a standing by ones who are standing in loss’s shadow.  it is big because loss is big.

and so we talk and we write and we pour out our reactions and opinions and what would comfort us.  because we need to.  to make loss big.  because those standing with suddenly empty hands and broken to pieces hearts need to hear it.



for claire.


2 thoughts on “making loss big (9.29am)

  1. I also remember the circles of grief and comfort, the two intermingled so well, in a different village in the pacific. Our society says we need to grieve away from others, at a time when we need people best. In our village we would wail, because we didn’t have words, but we shared the devastation.

    • it is of such great value that you can carry another culture so intimately inside you. circles of grief and comfort.. love that image erin. and thank you for sharing that. –kris

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