Words are living things in my imagination. Some of them are bubble cartoon fonts or rigid block letters or splashy red glitter words written in paint that drips.

December 22… This day is written with a gentle script, a lower case d.december

There are two days of remembering. Robb’s life ended over two days: the last day of his life, and the day of his death. They call for a different remembering, a different tenderness, a different presence.

I have learned how to dance with my heart in this annual journey. She starts by putting on the brakes, hard and fast. As if any amount of resistance will keep dates from existing on a calendar.

When that doesn’t work, she goes into Invisibility Mode. Sort of like a toddler in the game of “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me.” She tries to hide and simply let the calendar pages fall to the ground around her like leaves in the fall, only not as pretty.

When that doesn’t work, she puts on her football helmet and decides to simply barrel through. Head down, shoulders braced, and Game On. Just tackle this season and finish. Don’t think, don’t feel, just finish.

But this year is different. Enter: Love.

I am living in the heart of a Venn diagram, the intersecting circles of Past Pain and Redeemed Love. In that in-between place, there is nothing but emotion. And there is every emotion. Every.Two circles overlapping to illustrated shared or common properti

It reminds me of when I crashed on my bike when I was a child, when my elbows and shins got ripped up with road rash and I learned firsthand the nonnegotiable importance of skin. When you don’t have skin, everything hurts. Even the breeze.

And that’s where I am. Everything hits hard. The good, the bad, the memories, the new, the generosity, the tenderness, the compassion, the joy. Everything hits hard.

I suspect it is perhaps not entirely easy to love the widowed.

In a few days, my heart will finish the final leg of the journey through this week of Christmas. She will breathe a great sigh of relief, and she will begin a victory lap to celebrate another finish line.

For today, I just let her be.

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