***this is dedicated and a tribute to my friend, my August, my “SHE” Deborah Wilkinson Armstrong. For ALL things written to follow and also SO MUCH MORE. “SHE” Is part of me.***
She knows what pain feels like. Not just the pain of getting dumped or ghosted or cheated on.
She’s experienced extreme heartache. The type of heartache that can’t be repaired with a drunken text or a rebound boy. The type of heartache where the person you’re missing is never coming back.
She’s strong because she made a connection with someone — someone beautiful, breathtaking. Someone that deserved to live a long, healthy life free of hurt. But that person was ripped away from her.
She didn’t get enough time with them. Didn’t say everything she should have. It’s unfair, but she’s learned to accept that’s the way life is. The universe doesn’t play favorites.
And that’s okay, even though it’s not really okay at all.
Her strength was tested the day she found out the news — and every day since then. She’s questioned herself. Questioned the meaning of life. Questioned whatever God she believes in.
Her strength dipped down low, but it never abandoned her completely. If it had, then she’d no longer be here.
But she is. She’s still breathing.
Death has made her strong, because she’s still alive, even though her loved one is gone.
Because she’s dealt with the worst possible circumstances and persisted. Grieving relatives. Funeral arrangements. If-there’s-anything-I-can-do texts. Fruit baskets. Messages attached to flowers.
She got through the toughest times, times when she wished she could disappear, when she wished she could trade places with the person that passed — but she still has the ability to smile. To laugh. To enjoy life.
Of course, she’s not done crying.
She’s going to cry again when she flips through her scrapbooks or sees an On This Day memory on Facebook. When she drives past the graveyard or looks at the urn on her shelf. When it’s late at night or early in the morning and she can’t force herself to sleep.
But those tears don’t make her weak. They make her strong. They make her a survivor.
She’s strong because she handled the biggest loss imaginable. She knows what unstoppable pain feels like — what it feels like to miss someone that she can’t reach out to. Someone that she can yell and scream to, but will never get a concrete answer from.
She’s strong because she hasn’t let death turn her into a cynic. She still has a huge heart. She still has a lot of love to give.
She’s strong because she’s there for her friends whenever they suffer a similar loss. Because she’s someone that other people can lean on. Because she doesn’t let the horrors of her past haunt her.
She’s strong, because if she could get through the death of someone she loved more than words can ever express, then she can get through anything.