Don’t Forget to Breathe

No other pain can compete with this –
the way grief’s grip wraps around your heart
and twists, wrings, and rips.
The structural integrity of your soul
feels as though it collapses into tears,
hurt compounded by conflict reeling
about needing intimacy or pushing away.

The loss reaches its arms
into the epicenter of your spirit,
such that you may vow never to love
anyone that much ever again.
The height of your sadness
reflects the depth of your connection.
Herein lies the courage of humans:
to love without the comfort of a guarantee.
Herein lies the paradox of our condition:
to need each other for survival,
yet deprived of the promise we most desire.

You need not smile through the tragedy,
or save others from their sorrow.
You need not entertain.
I believe your child would want you to
have compassion for yourself,
let yourself be loved,
follow your heart,
attend to your needs.

When you can do no more than survive
with shaking shoulders and trembling hands,
you need remember only one thing:
Don’t Forget to Breathe.

~written by J.P. 1997~

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