That’s me, standing on the Nova Scotian seaside in a frightening tangle of a dozen massive pine trees knocked over like matchsticks in sand by Hurricane Dorian. We watched them fall one-by-one, the crashes of their demise muffled by a wind like I’ve never seen. Climbing through, avoiding brittle limbs and trunks, the warnings of our forester and chainsaw-familiar friends echoing in my brain. People die trying to clear fallen trees. They look stable but they are not. The pressure on them kills people. If you try and cut into them, or if they break, they spring back like a cannon shot. They can’t help it, the rigor mortis of a vertical creature being suddenly toppled. They are not just lying there. They are under strain.
A wind like that has a way of toppling us all. The ocean can do it, too. It reminds us we are animals, and little ones at that, regardless how clever we are or how vibrant our dreams.
If we are healthy—if we are ever to feel like functioning humans again, after loss—it can only ever serve us well to be actively fascinated by our own fears.
To examine them, turning them over and over in our hands.
To seek to find the words when there are none.
To identify, diagnose, and backwards-engineer them.
To make friends with them. They are going nowhere, after all. It was twelve years ago that Liam died against my chest. The scent of the morphine. The sound that came out of me when they took out his ventilator. The wounded look of him as he fought his way out of his broken body. And the curious peace—not mine—that was thick in the air when his heart and his brain finally managed to get mutual messages through all the brokenness, each of them finally stopping in unison. None of it budges. And so even twelve years later—when I am myself again, many times over—contented, happy, having grown for the better—I still seek to discover the edges of it, charting the shifting landscape of his absence as intimately as I chart the shifting landscape of my own body.
We are still here, at Glow, eleven years after my first cohort and I founded it. New voices will be joining us, after a summer and early-fall hiatus. We went quiet, for a while. Life-storms both metaphorical and very much real, all of which had us landing down all askew. But we are good, and we’ll get this fire stoked and lit once more.
Thank you for being here with us, and for bringing your curiosity to enmesh with ours. It does me good to see you here, and to see you seeing each other. Together, we pick our way through the post-storm rubble, marvelling at our smallness together.
Who is among us who’s just found us? Please say hello. New and veteran readers alike: what would you like to see more of at Glow? It’s a wonderful time for you to chime in, as we enter this new chapter of fresh air and revitalization. From us to wherever you are in the world and in your grief, we’re sending you good company, and thanks for being here.