When I got the phone call from Dad saying that Mom was moving out, I was at work in the library. I saw my phone light up with his name across it, and normally I wouldn’t answer my phone at work. But for whatever reason, that night I knew, with a dreading feeling in my stomach, I had to pick it up. So I did.
And mostly I remember the stumbling words, the tears on the other hand, my gasps for breath. And as Dad hung up on me, unable to finish, I too hung up and headed for the door, the tears already forming in my eyes. My hand grazed the front desk and I mentioned to my friend behind the counter that I would be back shortly. It was all I could do to find the door, find my way to the centre courtyard, and push my way into the cold, fall air.
I collapsed on the ground. I wailed and wept and stared at the stars in the sky. There is horror in grief, you know? That encompassing fear of what is to come, what will never be. It all crashes down in one, horrific move.
I don’t know how long I was there, but I knew I had to move and go back to my desk and leave work early. As I walked through the door into the foyer of the school, I saw my friend coming from the library after me. I collapsed into his arms and I cried, and I shook, and I whispered what had just become my life, and he held and held and held.
Before that night, had someone ever come to me, and told me that their parents were splitting up, I probably wouldn’t have known what to do. I probably would have uttered something senseless, like that it’s for the best, or God would use it.
And just for future reference –
Those are probably the worst things to say. Please don’t ever say that loss is “for the best.” Or that “God has a plan.” Quite frankly, it just makes me want to slap the words out of your mouth.
But I can tell you what we do need, us kids who walk brokenness in our family tree.
We do need to be held. Held, held, held. And told that it’s not okay. It’s not fair. It sucks. It isn’t right. You’ve been wronged and I wish there was a way to defend you and give you justice, but I can’t and there may not be that chance this side of heaven.
You can whisper that you are sorry that we don’t have a safe place. You can whisper to us to still hope for marriage and not hurt inside at another’s family dinner. You can tell us that love wasn’t best exemplified by two imperfect people; but Love is found in a Person, who has our name written on the palm of His hand.
You can fight for us. You can hold our hand when new dates are brought home; you can cry silently with us when new family trees are born that we don’t feel a part of. And maybe never will be. You can feel the weight of an empty chair at a wedding or funeral or family dinner, because the words will never be spoken but you will whisper in the silence that all is not right nor will it ever be.
Just be our fighter, our holder, our constant. Enough people in our lives tell us not to feel the way we are feeling, whether it’s a month after the boxes or packed or if it’s five years. But not enough people tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay to be hurt and be figuring out a way to hold this brokenness in your hand and just be okay. It’s okay that fall brings with it memories of loss that are so heavy in the cool air you can almost feel them unfolding again before you.
It’s okay. And if no one else will be that for you: I will be. It’s okay. It’s horrific. It isn’t fair. Let me cry with you. Let me weep over what is not nor ever will be.
And I will be there, and I will take you in my arms and I promise to hold, hold, hold.