i. remember that the inhale exhale of breathing in and out is hardly ever gentle and air is sometimes slick as oil, thin as the brush of sleet, rough as sandpaper, sometimes all at the same time. there will come a time when it doesn’t hurt to live and your lungs will carry the pain of the memory instead.
ii. this too will pass. open wounds heal eventually. remembering is painful but needed, and unlike lemon on a cut, it cleans out the bitterness. some days you will walk with an ache like the scar that stays white hot from the gash that never healed and you will taste the limp in the air, feel the crystal of that moment and the distant memory will be fresh yet again. allow yourself the understanding to hold it close and let it go maybe even in the same moment.
iii. breathe again. and again.
iv. collect photographs and don’t be afraid that you’re crying, don’t be afraid that you’re not crying. don’t be afraid to be angry. in the moment, it doesn’t matter, but just let the red blood rage fill your veins and breathe it in and out and let it go. afterwards, you will understand that it wasn’t so much anger as it was the touch of a memory too close, the reaction of getting too near to a fire. nostalgia is not the bitter blue weeping of rain, it is the gulping flames that eat away today, because in the end, no matter how much it gives, fire takes more away.
v. life is but a kiss. we humans have funny ways of coping and it takes a friend to cry into to say, “I am here,” to realize you are not so alone as you once imagined. to learn the balance of holding tight and letting go is a tightrope but this is the secret — it’s only a foot from the ground.