I have but few words for you today. I’m tired.
Someone I love lost someone she loves a few days ago in a terrible tragedy. The kind your brain comprehends as your eyes read the words, but your heart pushes away and says, “No. Not this. No.”
I’m so sorry, I say. What can I do for you?
At my annual physical the doctor asks me, Do you feel safe? She means at home. Yes, of course. I am safe, I say. But inside, I cry. We are, none of us, safe. There, but for grace, we fall.
Sundays are my long run days. I amble out, go easy, go long, eventually reaching the beach and several trailheads that take me through fields and forest before dropping me onto another beach, where again I climb the trails and roads toward home.
But this morning, I think better of it. I wake with a sore throat, a stuffed nose, an aching head. If I’m coming down with something, shouldn’t I stay in, rest, read the good book I started the night before? Shouldn’t I be writing?
I (almost) never get sick, so when I do, it feels like a failure of character, rather than of body. Maybe I am a little under the weather. But really, I think I’m heartsick.
The sunrise calls my bluff. Calls me out with the promise of peace. Renewal. The forest offers refuge where I can let tears fall. For my friend and the sadness and pain of her lost love. For our vulnerability.
If you are feeling vulnerable, I write for you. I know the pain is unbearable; it is too much for one person alone. You do not have to bear it alone. You are loved. You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) The National Suicide Prevention Hotline; if you are not in the United States, this website can help you locate a crisis hotline: International Association for Suicide Prevention I know you do not want to die, you just can’t see any way out. You just want some peace. I promise you, peace awaits you, here, now, and there are so many people available to help you reach it. Hang on. Call.
If you have lost a loved one, you are not alone. You are not to blame. Your dear friend, family member, partner did not want to hurt you. They were in deep, deep pain from an illness that was beyond your reach. Their death is not your shame. You are not responsible. You are loved. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) The National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It is there for you, too.
I’m at the end of my words now. Today I give my mind permission to rest. I captured these moments of beauty and renewal on my run this morning. This place of peace. This place of safety.