I follow the shadows as much as I follow the light. For it is in the dark places where my light shines brightest.
There is nothing darker than loss. The shadows of loss swallow me and I am left adrift in the abyss. Objects beyond reach fill my day with things I have to do, but living in the shadow of loss leaves me one step removed, out of sync, out of time, out of space.
After the last of my family died, I found myself in the ultimate shadow. So I went looking for the light. The world I once knew did not know me any longer. And I did not know their world filled with their light. My shadow was drawing me to my light, my meaning.
Shadow and light, meaninglessness and meaning. I measured my days in one and in search of the other. I knew the depths of the dark. It didn’t matter the time of dark. I drank coffee in my morning darkness. I took a nap in my afternoon darkness. And when the sun went down, night matched my darkness and I finally found refuge in something that made sense.
My shadow of loss did not fit the day. Meaninglessness overshadowed meaning and what was once important, that once gave light, emptied into the darkness all around me.
The light around me shined on others scurrying through their mazes. In their hurry they did not see how I was living in inches. I could not run like they did being in such an invisible darkness. Their light did not shine where I was and my light was so far away.
Finding the light of my sorrow took time. I would walk the night sky looking at the stars, looking for illumination.
After Matt died I lived in the country far away from city lights. There were too many people squeezing next to each other and there was no room for my darkness. I left the confines of their light and fell deep within my shadow. It was there I had room to breath. It was out under the sparkling canopy of the night sky where I went in search of my light that left me this shadow.
Lydia read several books on video to leave for Matt. She wanted to be remembered. She wanted to give him some semblance of light in the long shadow of his own deep sorrow. One of the books she read on tape was The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Lydia’s voice was strongest when she reached her favorite section and read,
“In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend…I shall not leave you.”
The night shadows took me nightly to the night sky. And in the night sky I saw distant light. And in the distant light, I would hear laughter. Bryan’s laughter. Lydia’s laughter. Matt’s laughter. And we laughed into the star, into the light, into the night.
To this day, my night is full of stars. My shadow is full of light. My sorrow is full of joy. I live the ultimate paradox. I live woven within loss and life, interwoven within love’s lost and found, shadows and light, night and day… and lots of laughter.
The stars hide during the day. So do I. I hide behind their light. But at night under our sky, I am illumined by the radiance of our light. I look to the stars from my shadow and find comfort that they will never leave me. The ones I love, the ones that will forever sing with laughter, will never leave me. No matter how dark the night, my light shines. For it is not my light my shadow sees. It is forever our light.