Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!
But oh! How that one line speaks truth to those who have lost someone they love.
Brightness falls from the air.
That's exactly what happens when, in the midst of going about my day, I am blindsided by a vivid memory of my love. Anything can trigger it -- a view, a song, a news story, a flower, a sentence in a book, a TV show. Whatever the trigger, a vivid memory of Gayland springs full blown into my mind's eye, and for a split second, he lives in my mind. Then reality intrudes and -- brightness falls from the air.
Any transitory happiness flees, tranquility is gone, laughter fades, courage falters, hope fades, and bleak despair reigns.
Sometimes it lasts only a minute, and I am able to recover without anyone noticing that this black cloak of grief just enveloped me. Other times, it lasts for days, this bleak hopelessness. When this happens, I just fake it. Why suck others into my bleakest times?
When it hits, the blow of grief has a physical impact. I feel my shoulders drop, my hands fall to my side, my knees weaken. Once in a while -- thank God only when I'm alone -- it has literally knocked me to my knees.
When that happens, I just sink down and sit there and let the dogs comfort me, as in their loving doggy concern they nudge me and lick me and lean close to me. When sometimes in the night I rise from my sleeplessness and walk outside, they all come with me, even the cat, and we walk the garden in the post-midnight hours, pacing back and forth between the garden "rooms" he and I created together until I am exhausted enough to go back to bed.
And then, as if to make up for the black times, a period of tranquility will arrive, allowing me days of peace when I am allowed to believe I have come to terms with the loss of him.
It's a lie.
Oh, I am functioning. I am even having fun. I spend time with people I love. I work on projects I care deeply about.
But the impact of the loss of Gayland is never far from me.
Perhaps one day these moments will elicit only a fond smile. But for now?
For now when they come, they take the light with them, and brightness falls from the air.