Hikes and Handrails

I’m not sure if it was running into a friend who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, or if it was the Autumn hike that I knew she would have enjoyed, or if it’s the realization that it’s been over a year since I’ve seen her… But today she kept popping into my mind. And that’s the hard part because your mind doesn’t remember that they are gone. The initial thought feels like their love is still near. There is warmth and familiarity. Your brain still believes they are accessible.

Grieving a loved one can feel like tripping down a stairway with no handrail.

We’ve all tripped; felt that frantic release of adrenaline that makes our chest hurt followed by a hollow sinking feeling as you reach out to stabilize and there is nothing there. Your arm is waving in the air grasping for an empty space.

Your brain looks to plant itself down in the the familiar and it trips on the realization that the step is not there. When you go to reach for stability – that person – it’s gone. And so your brain falls headlong down the steps of memories, relationship, love and grief.

There are days when I think that grief feels just like the falling portion. Just a constant drop into the abyss. Because if you let yourself hit the ground, then you have to face the pain of the absence of the handrail has left you.

Other days we wake up on the ground unable to get up.

But you never know what kind of day it will be.

No one sees a fall coming.

But we all instinctively try to grab for a handrail.

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