Years ago, I sat in a class room after learning a good friend had died. I was 24 and he was 19. Death had not come into my life in a palpable way yet. I felt deflated, empty and beref. After class I rode my bike the few miles back to my apartment. I felt the warm sun on my face and the late spring air rushing over my skin an filling my lungs. I rode quickly.
I lived on a large hill on Dakota avenue. The hill always took me a lot of pedaling to get all the way up. I stopped at my mailbox and opened it. Breathing hard, I spun my backpack around, stuffed in the mail and pulled out my water bottle. At the time I had been using a large glass jar reused after I bought some healthy juice. I liked drinking out of these glass jars. I remember thinking they had more character and texture that the plastic nalgenes that were in vogue back then. To me the water tasted fresh and clean coming out of these jars. And the glass sparkled in the bright sun as I lifted it to my lips. I thirsted.
After drinking my fill, I went to screw the lid back on before climbing the stairs up to my front door. My hand were sweaty and the condensation on the glass made the bottle slick. The jar twisted out of my hands, fell to the concrete and shattered. The cool, fresh water darkened the concrete while the broken pieces came to rest. I saw it happen in slow motion and immediately thought of my dead friend.
Such a loss, such a waste, such a shame. that precious life, that life-giving water spilled out and disappeared into a larger existence. The metaphors can come easily but the sadness and the hurt over the loss remain.
Loss is like this for my mother too. I can lament over the loss and the pain felt with separation. But the the sadness and the emptiness remains like the broken chards of glass on the wet pavement.
I am still picking up the pieces, I am still filling in the scarred area left by such a wound as this. I suspect I will be picking up the pieces for some time yet.