I felt a keen sense of sadness come over me. It came unbidden and unexpected. It came while casually wandering through our local grocery store - not a place of emotional triggers or unexpected psychic pain. But come it did. I gasped at the hurt of it. The 'noisiness' of the pain and the swiftness it travelled from heart to head and back reminded me of hollering boys at a sports day meet. I staggered to a stop. One can stagger in a wheelchair because staggering happens in the mind before the body, staggering in fact does not require body at all. I sat, in the way of other shoppers. In the way and not caring. All I felt was the loss, I had no room for the petty annoyances of others.
Death leaves in its wake lives jumbled up and chaotic. Time only allows us to bring some order to bear on the mess left, like a hole when a tree is uprooted. Forever I trip over small things that I forgot to pack away, things I didn't notice in the clean up. It is then that it comes back to me, the loss, the hurt, the loneliness. It is then that the wish for one more talk, one more hug, one more shared moment overwhelms me. The grocery store did that to me, an innocent display of new and fancy coffees placed to be seen and noticed was all it took. I don't even like coffee. But the one gone did. Loved coffee. Was passionate about the stuff, even cooked with coffee. Something I never understood but laughed about.
To those, muttering as the stepped by me, in the way and lost to them, I must have looked momentarily unworldly. Their barely heard curses died on their lips as they saw the traces that death had left on my face. In that moment years hadn't passed, no not true, years had passed but in minutes. A leaving, a going away, well prepared for had taken me by surprise. And it did so again as I looked at the coffee.
I roused myself. The 'click' that my wheelchair makes as it shifts into gear sounded louder than it should in my ears. I was back amongst the living. I was back doing what I was there to do. And as I did a new feeling took the place of the grief and loss. I felt a kind of thankfulness, a kind of joy. A thankfulness that I was lucky enough to have had something so precious to lose. A joy that my heart still held to tenderly to a shared love that it could still feel the wound of being rent in two.
To live well and passionately is to feel now and, again, then all of what the heart can feel. It is to me the mark of being human, completely and entirely, that ability to remember loss and to feel again the softness of love gone. Even though, at times I become convinced of the status of 'other'. Made different by how I move and how I love and how I look - it is these moments that I remember that I am completely as made - human.
And I think that's why I remembered the coffee, because when we were friends, sitting chatting, that's all I was. Completely different and completely human, accepted as both. Heaven then, heavenly now. And worth, very much worth, the moments that stop my day.