We Are All the Same in Grief
Rainy Window: A Tale of True Grief
Sitting inside a Church in Brooklyn, New York I thought about my best friend whom I had blown off for a couple of months. I made friends with Adam when I moved from Indiana to Massachusetts; we lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, listened to Rock N Roll, and played video games non-stop. I promised to play some ultimate Frisbee with him before he left for college but I got distracted, didn’t bother to call, and three months later found myself trying to figure out how to talk to him with as little embarrassment as possible.
Looking out the church window, I peered at dark storm clouds. As rain splattered off the glass I noticed my muddled reflection, and wondered what I will look like in twenty years. I looked up and saw Sarah, a tall woman in her late twenties walk up to me. Searching her face I could not figure out if she was mad or happy, her green eyes functioned like shutters on a window, not letting those outside look in. “Jared, I got a phone call from your parents, you need to call home”.
“Why what happened?” I asked.
“All I can tell you is that your dad needs to talk to you, there is a phone downstairs you should call him.”
‘What stupid family drama is going on this time?’ I thought, as I walked down the stairs into the old church basement. Seeing the phone on the wall I picked it up, leaned against the wall, called home, and heard my fourteen year old sister on the other end.
“Is mom or dad home?” I asked.
“Nope. Dad is at the church, and mom isn’t back from work yet” she said.
“Is everything ok?”
At that point I had the pleasure of listening to a five minute complaint fest. After she was done I said “Was any of that, the reason why I was told to call home?”
“Can you tell me?”
With a breaking voice she said” I can’t. Talk to dad.” Hearing my sister’s sob, my heart fell into my stomach, and dissolved in the acid. First I called my dad’s cell, but did not receive an answer. Then I called my mom’s work, and still only a ringing phone. Five minutes later I finally got a hold of my dad at the church office.
“Dad what’s going on?”
“Well, you remember Adam’s heart problem? Well, something happened the other day.”
“Is he dead?”
“Ok dad, got to go.”
The news shot venom in my bones, causing a feverish nausea to envelop my whole body instantaneously. I ran outside, screamed, fell to the ground, and wept. Looking up, I saw a bum walk up to me, but I was so beside myself, he could have slit my throat, and I would not have cared. Looking at me with sheer amazement in his eyes, he crouched down, wiped the snot off my nose with his hand, and flung it to the ground.
My friends pulled me back inside the church, and the bum followed. Looking at the pastor he said “You know, my whole life I always thought people in the church had no problems, and that was why they were religious. But the way that guy is on the outside is how I feel on the inside.”
He looked out the same window, and peered at dark storm clouds. He noticed a muddled reflection in the glass, and at that moment his face looked like mine.
Has anyone unexpected ever come through for you during a time of grief? If you care to share here is the time and space.
© 2014 Jared Busby