I listened as she spoke, not expecting what she was about to say. I could tell it was hard to share and I just tried to allow the space between us to be safe for her to give me what she needed to. A proud and strong woman, it was easy to tell that struggled to allow herself to be vulnerable in the moment.
I allowed the shock of what she shared to wash over me and listened for the message she needed me to hear. I waded through my own fears that her experience was dragging to the surface. I barely suppressed the need to offer solutions to problems that had been horrifically resolved - though certainly not in her favor. Her request of me was, in total, easy to say yes to. The need for the request was brutal and heartbreaking.
When we were done talking and resumed our day - getting back to the chaos that was our routine, I realized my heart was weeping. It was not my pain to have, but I felt it and felt it deeply. I breathed and quelled the pain in my heart to make it through the balance of my day.
Once I was home and alone for the evening, the pain came back. While it isn't my pain, I can't help but feel it cut through me as I think of the unrelenting injustice of it all. I don't know the whole story, but I don't need to. What I know is that two people loved each other completely, fully, and deeply. They built a life together.
One of them died.
As she sat in front of me and shared the tiny piece of the very huge story she needed me to have, I felt so in awe of her as she never let on that she was fighting such an intense battle.
Now she lives with a piece of herself missing. A piece that so beautifully fit she knew it was their destiny to be together.
All they built together is being ripped away and destroyed.
She now has to pack her life- their life- in boxes and walk away, albeit kicking and screaming until she has no voice left.
Fear and ignorance and perhaps downright stupidity has struck again.
Families can be so incredibly cruel. The people you should be able to count on should not turn against you and use a claw hammer to ravage the life of someone you loved after you are gone.
Yet, they do.