Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Cliff


You tread up a hill and see a loved one sitting on the edge of a cliff, with her back to you. You see her sitting there doing nothing. She won't talk, and she won't stand up. She hardly acknowledges your presence. She hides her face from you. You stand behind her and say ..."why are you just sitting there?!"..."there are things you should be doing!"... "why won't you talk to me!" ... "you don't care about me!" ... "I'm tired of this" ... "You never even answer your phone when I call!"

This is what you don't see...

She has wandered alone in the desolate darkness and found herself sitting there, weary and ravaged from the traumatic events in her life, bare feet dangling over the side. Her shoulders are drawn forward, and her head is bowed. Her hair is in knots, and her eyes are swollen and pink. Her face is tear stained, and dirty. She feels crazy, defeated, ugly, broken and let-down. She is staring emptily at what is below her feet. She sits quietly, not uttering a word, but there is a conversation raging inside her mind. She is despondent and exhausted from this internal battle of fighting to break herself away from the edge and leave this place by the cliff. Tired of fighting the urge to throw herself into the abyss in a fit of rage.

This is not the first time she has been here. In fact, it is a place she visits often, and each time, spends just enough time sitting on the edge, that she eventually wins the fight to leave that spot. There are times when the implosion within her brings her right back to this place on the cliff. She doesn't even know how she got there most of the time. She really doesn't want to be there, but she has such a hard time getting her feet underneath her, to turn her back and walk away from the edge. She would much rather walk in the sunshine, listen to the birds happily chirping, and feel the gentle breeze of the wind. She would love to hear herself laughing and feel the pull of a smile on her cheeks. Those moments seem fleeting....and unexpectedly, she is back at her place on the cliff.

While she sits at this place, she finds it very difficult to break her gaze at what is below her feet. She is almost immune to the world around her. She knows it exists, but the draw of the cliff's edge is too strong. Her focus has become very narrow, and as much as she wants to open it up wide, she has little energy to fight the draw of the cliff. With every criticizing word, she draws closer to the edge, unable to breathe until she desperately cries out for silence. The silence is better than harsh words, critiques and expectations. A quiet presence is welcome and soft, and calm, comforting words are a balm to her ears, reaching into her mind, giving her strength to turn away from the cliff. When this happens, she is relieved, takes a deep, healing breath, but knows that at a moment when she is unprepared, the cliff will call her back again.

The more often she visits that place, the more depleted her energy becomes. She is very, very tired. Her breaths are shallow. Speech is an effort, and motivation is absent from her mind. Her first desire is to sleep, to regain some energy that the cliff took away. She desperately does not want to go back to the place by the cliff.

But she'll find herself there again. 

This is deep grief. 

This is child loss.

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