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Pressing on the Bruise
Notes on grief, collaborating, and the ways life sometimes presses on the bruise.
Last Tuesday marked a year since I lost my Dad. These past 365 days have made up one of the longest shortest years of my life. It feels like my Dad was just here, and yet when I think about a year ago, it feels like forever. Maybe this bizarre time warp is the natural result of processing loss and monumental changes. When you’re busy dealing with all the changes, time feels fast and fleeting, and then when you reflect, the before-time feels like another lifetime ago.
Having friends and family to grieve with has been a life raft for me. My Dad’s sister reads this newsletter every week and regularly goes out of her way to send thoughtful emails in response. She also writes a bimonthly column for a local publication and will often share her writing with me, which I love. We’ve been messaging each other, swapping ideas, and building off of these ideas over email more than we ever have before. It’s been really lovely.
A few months ago in response to one of my newsletters that touched on grief, my aunt sent this reply:
“You hit me with your grief idea. I got to thinking about the analogy of life as a glass, but not the half-full/half-empty cliché. Here’s the image that came to mind: Fill a glass with stones of different shapes and sizes, like life is full of a variety of things. Then pour water over it all….just like grief, it fills all the spaces, finds its own level, makes the dull shiny, the dark darker, and distorts others.”
This struck me as such a powerful and accurate metaphor — I felt compelled to illustrate it. After letting it marinate for some time in notebooks and sketchbooks, it turned into this illustrated poem:
Pressing on the Bruise
Grief fills the spaces
fills the gaps
I didn’t notice
it distorts, shrinks
m a g n i f i e s
turning the dull shiny
up the contrast
proof of love
pressing on the bruise
This week I’d like to share this poem as a downloadable art print with all subscribers. The file is formatted as a letter-size PDF. Please note that this is copyrighted work that is for personal use only and is not eligible for resale. Please print for yourself and feel free to share with friends!
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for being here! It truly means the world to me to connect with you every week. In case you missed it, last week I wrote about navigating the pendulum swing of too much and too little in my post What is Enough?