I had a miscarriage last year. It’s been almost a year to the day. I’ve never talked about it. I don’t know what to say. What can you say? Quite literally a part of my heart exited my body before I even had a chance to say hello to it. It was the beginning of a year of loss. I have never really understood loss. I’ve been lucky in my life to have not experienced much great loss so far. It’s not the most comfortable subject to discuss. We just don’t know what to say. Over the past 12 months the loss’s have been great.

Love lost.

I’ve wondered my entire life if love is real. In the limited ways that we are able to love does it really exist? I’ve loved a great many things in my life, and I’ve also only thought I loved a great many things. Maybe I did love them. Maybe love takes on different forms and changes with time and seasons. Maybe the love you give is real in the time and place it is received and maybe it always lives on in the shadows and memories of a whole life experience.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch people love and lose with grace. Raw words that are bursting at the seams with grief, sorrow, and pain have deeply touched my heart this year. Searching for signs from the birds, looking to the trees, remembering gardens and lovingly keeping watch over benches that now sit solemnly holding space for aching hearts and tears that fall fresh like rain. I now know this much is true…

Love is real.

What is it about grief that just cuts right through the bullshit? It leaves you nowhere to hide and opens up some sacred tomb of truthful words that we normally keep safe under lock and key. It’s like this holy storm comes tearing through your world…It rips apart everything you thought you knew. In it’s wake you are still here, but you are more you now. You have this never ending ache that dulls everything else. All the things you thought mattered, don’t. All the people that were so important to impress, aren’t. It is in this moment that you become awake and alive to what does matter. Breathing. Honoring. Figuring out how to move about in the world without your entire heart. The missing is all encompassing. It surpasses the need for food, drink, conversation, movement. It’s like it’s it’s own entity.

There’s me, you, and the missing. We all live here together now.

Sometimes I wonder what if? What if that little hiccup that terrified me, sent my heart reeling, and threw me emotionally from one end of the room to the other was here? What if the sleepless nights had multiplied? What if the cold wind that blew on that February day had shown a beating heart for me to love? What if she was still here to travel and adventure with him? What if he hadn’t left her too soon? What if that baby got to keep his daddy? What if her brother had decided to stay? What if a life that saw no hope and no way out gave breathing one last chance? What if the warrior heart of her sailor could have lived forever? What if love had been enough to keep him alive?

What if…

Death feels so final. So scary. So real. So hard. So hurtful. So impossible to navigate through. I think though, that even though there is a certain certainty, there is also a promise. A hope. A knowing. A beauty. A revealing. Life is more precious. Love is more real. Trees are more meaningful. Benches are more comforting. The birds suddenly aren’t just birds anymore, and it’s here that we find we are not yet home.

Painting of trees done by the amazing Gale Stewart. ❤️