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  • Writer's picturedavidauten

Watching Koi

When you lose a loved one, and the heart breaks, consolations are hidden from sight. You feel as though night has fallen, without warning, and the light of life, once bright, becomes suddenly the faint flickering of memory. The aching, disorienting experience of your loss leaves indelible markings like lines carved within a face through the passage of time, reshaping your inner landscape, and without having first consulted you in the matter. Not knowing what to do with yourself, transfigured by grief, you may stumble upon a seeming triviality in the wanderings of your day. Standing still by a pond, you notice a willow blowing in the wind, the morning’s mist moving gently just above the cold ground, a few fish swimming in the water below. Once child’s play, observance of this activity is now somehow something more. You allow yourself to linger, touched by the fluidity and serenity of the moment: there is something sublime here in the simple.

When color fades, your loss leaving you bruised black and blue and gray, you instinctively reach to another for help, and, at other times, recede into the healing privacy of darkness. For hearts that are wounded there is no remedy but silence and shadow Proust said. Through the solace afforded by deep and necessary solitude, and the reassurance of shared presence with another who is kind and gentle, you gradually rediscover the gift of self-compassion, permission to close your eyes and rest rather than see. You realize in loss that hindsight has never been twenty-twenty, and foresight a rarity, with the spectacles of the present moment obscured by the myopia of your pain. You cannot simply acquire a new perspective like purchasing a pair of glasses. Trauma has a way of clouding vision, and all things eventually are viewed through the cataracts of some kind of crisis: global health, economic, identity. Being undone is being human, and the prelude to a new beginning.

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