The blaze and the blooming

The initial blow shredded me. It seared, it consumed, it blazed with a heat that I could not withstand. I trembled, crumbled, collapsed. And when I looked up from the puddle that I was, all I could see was you, a beautifully bright spot burning through the blackness, and all I wanted to do was hold onto you. Contemplate you, breathe you, drown in you. The thought of you was the only thing holding my heart together. I hung on for dear life, even though my own life was not very dear any more. You were still precious. And so I clung to you. That initial burst of grief, of love for you, was brilliantly colorfully painfully alive, and it obscured everything else. The devastation of that initial blow lasted a long, long time. I thought it would end me.

But I kept waking up. To panic, to terror, to a cold dread coursing through my center, to an inability to process much of anything or to function beyond a very basic capacity. Days passed. Weeks passed. I didn’t feel like I could breathe. I cried out constantly for relief from the suffocation. And I kept waking up. To more burning, blinding love and longing for you. You were all that I saw. Every beautiful, tragic, agonizing thing that I saw was about you. You blazed, and I could not look away. I wanted to hold onto you so badly, to sustain you, keep you alive, intact, uncorrupted, perfect the way I knew you to be. The image of you was pressed deeply into the center of my heart. I didn’t want to move for fear of shaking any tiny molecule of you loose from your place within me. You were planted inside of me like a seed. I packed myself tightly down around you, and did not look around at the outside world. I couldn’t. I couldn’t bear to see all of the normalcy, or the senseless tragedies, the casual disregard for the sacred nature of life. I gazed only at you.

Zinnia, 8/23/17

You blossomed. You bloomed. You took shape, established yourself. You developed your voice, and I developed my ear for your call. I relaxed a tiny, tiny bit. I peeled my protective seed-covering fingers back a fraction of a millimeter and let a whiff of fresh air into the space around you. I let others catch a glimpse of you, how raw and bright you were. I let you breathe, and I ventured to take a breath too. It caught in my throat, I sputtered, cried out in a hoarse whisper, panicked for a moment, then finished the breath. I exhaled so many tears. And then I let you grow, and be. And you were exquisite. Breathtaking. You shone. I was mesmerized, in awe of what you had become, were becoming.

Zinnia, 9/11/17

You sighed. You rested. I began to understand that you would never leave. I could never lose you. You were mine for forever. I held you, and I shared you. I became comfortable with your constant presence. You were as familiar as the breath in my lungs, as easy as the wind through the trees. I opened my hands. I let you rise up. I let the light back in. We rocked, back and forth, in the unconsciously intimately soothing way that mothers and children do. We slowed down. We exhaled. We noticed. We shone together, you and I.

Zinnia, 9/21/17

You settled, expanded, became the backdrop against which everything else in my life played out. We stretched out our fingers, leaned back, let go. We mellowed together. I let you swim away for a bit, knowing that you’d always circle back to my arms. We played a bit, we explored. I watched you fly. I was so grateful to call you mine. You were everywhere that my gaze fell, and you always caught my eye. I always found you, no matter where I went. I felt joy. You felt it with me. I know that you did.

Zinnia, 9/27/17

I ventured past boundaries that I’d set for us, past safe and familiar scenes, into new arenas that we had not yet explored together. And yet, there you still were. Sending out shoots, demonstrating your character, revealing yourself in new ways. You are alive and growing, and I will continue to discover you.

Zinnia and bud, 9/27/17

Just when I thought that you were as beautiful as you could possibly be, you are coming alive in new ways. The initial love doesn’t disappear, it just lays the foundation for all of the diverse manifestations that love has planned. I will watch you stretch your branches against the sky and flourish.

Old Zinnia and new bloom, 9/28/17

I will raise my arms in your shade, and give thanks. These arms are so blessed to have held you.

Fly, my sweet. I know that even as you do, you will stay so so close, and carry my heart upward with you, into the blazing light.

There is a very real fear

That to keep living

Is to leave him behind

That moving forward

Is moving on, and denying his importance

The truth is

That the healthier I am,

The more alive he is.

The more I am able to do,

The more I am able to do FOR HIM.

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