Loving someone or something links us together throughout time and space. There is no “till death do us part” for death does not stop us from loving. Loving deeply forms a bond, a thread (a rope, an unbreakable chain) of connection that persists long after that which is loved is gone.
When Loss comes through your world, he wraps his strong soft hands around this unbreakable thread of love and yanks with all his might!! It feels like an assault, a violence that threatens to tear your heart to shreds, threatens to choke all air out of your lungs, to shroud all light from your eyes. This is how it feels. And yet it isn’t an assault. In the shock of this mighty pull, you did not notice the tears pouring from his eyes, you did not feel the grief in his heart.
Loss, you may not know, is the brother of Love. They grew up together, born from the same womb of universal experience, raised in the wilderness, in harmony among the plants, stones, and creatures. You see, there is an unbreakable thread that connects Loss and Love, a thread has bound them together long before there were stones and plants and creatures. And still this bond persists in each of us. When we love another, we are agreeing to bind ourselves to loss as well.
So how are we to respond when, after so long of sitting quietly while we dance with love, Loss makes his presence known? Do we get angry? Do we harden ourselves to make the tugs less painful? Shall we try to numb it out with distractions and substances? Do we close our eyes, cover our ears, stomp our feet and sign loudly to drown it out?
What if, instead of being angry or hardening or hiding, or avoiding… what if we wrap our soft hands around the other end of the unbreakable thread and yank with all our might?
I will not lie, you may experience the same emotions and sensations as when Loss pulled the thread. But this time, the experience will be softer, tinted with roses and early morning light, immersed in a chorus of birdsong and the flow of water on stones. This time, you will know that the emotions and sensations of Loss are also that of Love. You will remember that you committed to both and both you shall receive.
Love and Loss were raised in the wilderness, and to the wilderness we must turn to metabolize our grief. It is among the plants, stones, and creatures that we see the wonderous beauty of the unbreakable thread. It is a log across a stream offering safe passage to creatures big and small. It is a large stone covered in wet dewy moss. It is a line of ducklings waddling after their mother. It is the first ephemerals emerging in emerald glory in early spring, and it is the first snowfall covering the landscape in a soft white blanket.
The unbreakable thread is that which connects all that is alive and loved, with all that has died and been lost. It does not fray or weaken, it cannot be cut or broken. Much like the transmission of life-giving nourishment through the umbilical cord from mother to child, the unbreakable thread is a conduit for that which is life-sustaining, life-enhancing. By wrapping our hands around this unbreakable thread, we are committing to feeling fiercely the full spectrum of love and loss, joy and grief, sorrow and wonder. We commit to loving deeply, well beyond “death do us part”.