When you’re a sojourner, you miss milestones. You miss friends’ graduation open houses, you miss engagement parties, you miss their weddings. You see the highlights, but you miss all the late nights. You miss the unsung moments that expand gloriously to fill the spaces between each infrequent occasion we mark with a long distance text, or an even less-frequent card.
And then, as time passes, you start missing something else, too.
You miss the funerals.
Your friend dies, and you can’t be there for the funeral.
Your friend’s mother dies, and you can’t be there for the funeral.
Your friend’s baby dies, and you can’t be there for the funeral.
It is not true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Distance actually makes the heart swell with grief, makes ones whole being ache deeply, wearily, at the realization that
Distance means you can’t be there
to silently hold,
to cry alongside,
to weep together.
They tell you nothing is the best thing to say in the face of grief.
They don’t tell you how impossible it is to fill a blank card with mutual tears, fold it into a stiff envelope, and drop it down down down into the unknown darkness, where it will sail away, carried by unsuspecting hands, and finally land in a faraway box, alone and a bit worn around the edges.
They tell you just to be there.
And that’s the one thing you can’t do, when you’re a sojourner.