when they first go,
let yourself think every selfish, no-good, dirty, angry, filthy, horrible thought. let the waves of anger wash through you.
let grief do its work.
do not swallow your tongue
when it turns into a blade.
scream a little, if you have to, but don’t swallow that sharp. don’t.
blame God, if you have to. shake your fist at the sky.
let it happen. he will forgive you.
eat. remember to feed yourself.
shower, if you can. sleep.
kiss your loved ones on the forehead.
recognize how and where love still exists.
forgive tomorrow for never showing up for them.
grab your anger by the shoulders and shake it until it crumbles.
be sad. let your heart be heavier than wet jeans.
feel how much weight there is on your chest.
sit in wonder at how you are still alive, how this didn’t kill you, too.
hold yourself like a child. sing yourself to sleep.
go where the warmth is.
dry your clothes in sunlight, then wear the warmth.
this pain is permanent, but, like a scar, it will fade. a crescent moon on your arm.
make no apologies for what you’ve done to survive.
it is okay to miss them every second.
it is okay to howl at the moon.
pain is an animal with sharp teeth and a soft heart.
it will get easier.
time will slip its fingers inside of that gaping hole
and pull the darkness out, little by little.
listen for their voice, whispering,
“I AM HAPPY. WHEREVER I AM. LIVE IN PEACE.”