I had lunch with a friend yesterday who really gets me. She’s taken my hand many times over the past year, figuratively and literally, and walked with me through what she and I call “the fire.” She’s the person who taught me that, when we’re facing the loss of a loved one (or any loss, I suppose), we have to walk through the fire to get to the other side. There’s no walking around it, no leaping over it and no dragging our feet, hoping it will burn out on its own. I’ve also learned that, cruelly, sometimes getting through the fire leads us straight into….another wall of flames.
But sometimes, we really do leave the heat behind for a while. Sometimes the beauty of spring, the smile of a child (even an adult child!), or the hand of a true friend cools our soul and we know it will be ok. Some day we will be ok.
This friend has learned all this before, and now she’s walking me through the process. Yesterday, 15 years after her fire raged – then calmed – she had a flare up. Just for a minute, but it came and it caught her by surprise.
And we walked through that together, too.
Some people haven’t felt the fire yet. Some have a whole different kind of heat…not the kind of grief I’m experiencing, but maybe a different sort of loss completely. Some will understand my fire; some won’t. And I might not understand theirs, either. But during this time, I’ve been blessed with family who understand and love through it all, and with friends who aren’t afraid of a little heat.
And for that, I am very thankful.