What I'm Learning About Grief

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
What I’m learning about grief surprises me
Not always is it cancer’s crime
in a grandfather’s still face
or a friend’s tumor-filled ultrasound

Sometimes it is in change
delivering both grief and gift
as when the day’s dying
gives way to emerging night

When a tearful goodbye
becomes a tentative greeting
or an opportunity lost
opens a mind to dreaming

A memory forgotten
is discovered again
when a loved one tells it 
in their own perspective

But masked smiles and vacant eyes
in empty store aisles
reflect my grief
Where is the other side?

When translucent barriers between people
attempt to hold back invisible fear
and separate the humanity between us
muffling our attempts to connect

I hear a whistling and turn the aisle
Kind, smiling eyes look at mine
my shoulders relax
as he shares his joy

In the whistling
and in those eyes
I see the other side of my grief
and am surprised again

the death of my old life
can begin a life renewed

the change of old habits
gives way to rethinking

a goodbye to physical culture
makes me seek inventive connection

the opportunity to move freely
causes my mind take flight

forgetting how freedom feels
means another can tell their story

Mindy Hirst
April 20, 2020