A part of me died back then when she was lying in a box. I remember seeing her in only grey shades. Even her plum colored dress with its frilly button collar seem dusted in ashy tones. That pale rose sheen gone from her lips and cheeks. Raven silk hair seemed dulled in death too! I carefully tucked a flower in her folded hands with some fear as this was my first real close up look at death. As I drew back my hand, my fingers brushed her ribcage. She was hard as stone. Her chest had been crushed in the accident so perhaps it was a form to reshape her for the open casket funeral. And, of course, embalmed bodies aren’t exactly flowing with life’s energy. I knew in that second of touching her, so affirming was the hollow I felt in my chest, she was gone from this world. Her shell was no longer holding her spirit. I breathed, as if for a second it was some kind of solace. Then the ache surged again and like the rose I placed with her, it too was dying like that of my teenage heart. Petals wilting, drying up, falling from its stem. No longer rooted and nourished. We were both laid six feet under that day. From then on, the most prominent part of me didn’t see or feel anything other than sadness and loneliness, and death of life. There were hardly glimpses of hope in between the black and gray of jagged slate. I was so fragile but no one saw just how fragile. I built a wall without even knowing and yet I opened wide the door, walked into heartache after heartache. Never realizing how destructive a path I followed until these past few years of writing. And, still now remnants of my brokenness remain embedded deep and these tears taste so familiar. I feel loss so deeply…perhaps because I love so deeply…and maybe I love so deeply because I know it is a living thing…and I know it is a living thing because I have felt it die…and because I know death and loss of such a precious love, I believe I feel love and loss so deeply. My youth was stolen and I mourn it. I mourn for my mother’s love. I mourn for a deeper love. Some days I feel love doesn’t love me and rather not stay with me, and that is so very tragic.