In Death, We Receive

Amanda - San Francisco, California
Entered on August 15, 2007

When my boyfriend took his own life on a fateful day this past January, I hit the ground. My legs gave out beneath me and I sobbed my tears into the carpeted floor. I spent the next six months seeking answers and solace, and luckily, with the fearless work I have done, I am finally starting to find some, as well as some gifts that have come alongside them.

It started with shelter. I was back in San Francisco, without a partner, a place to live, or a job, and a two-year book project that I needed to finish. If I were ever going to shift my work-life to encompass my passion, I needed a desk to lay my muse. A long-term friend from the wild days of my twenties read my plea by e-mail. She had an extra room that she needed to clear out, and wondered if I’d like to call it home. Two months after I moved in, I received a full-time job as a writer. I would be paid to write from my heart.

There were the neighbors. Over the years, between my travels, isolation, and the intensity of an intricate relationship, I had let some of my friendships slip away. Two friends from my meditation practice rose from the surface, like flowers that had started to bloom in the spring. They told me that they had moved into a house with a garden just two blocks away. One of them, who had started as my writing partner on our book projects five years before, spent every night with me in that painful first month so I didn’t have to sleep alone.

Then there was a new community. First, in a Suicide Support Group, where we could come once a week to vent, cry, question, and understand. I found some answers in their stories, and solace in knowing that I wasn’t alone. Then there is my new grief group, with a facilitator who guides us, and some understanding for the others just behind me on the path. Here we’ve been doing the hard work, incorporating the natural occurrence of death, into the safe container of our daily lives.

And finally, the gifts. “You are living your grief out loud,” the facilitator said to me. “I can’t do it any other way,” I smiled back. When people want to leave my talk of his suicide alone in a room, I don’t make them wrong, and instead, I reach for my newfound compassion, and try to help them understand. My book dream is being actualized, so I can dedicate it to him. And the fear and grasping that I once felt around this biggest attachment that is love, is now showing up as a heart that has no fear, and love that has no boundaries. For these are two gifts that his death has brought me, and for this I can now believe.