Grief is a powerful, confusing, painful emotion to have to endure. Unrelenting, it shows up uninvited at the most inopportune times possible, leaving the bearer to have to figure out how to navigate around it.
It doesn’t care if it’s show week, you’re out of understudies, surrounded by scores of well-intending people. It will hit you square in the jaw, shatter your world to pieces, and leave you to figure out how to put it back together again. What’s more, it keeps some of those pieces, so your picture is never truly whole again.
You eventually mend, learn to avoid the holes left where the pieces once fit, and find a way to love your picture just as it is. But you still remember those places where things used to be different, where people used to be.
But there’s a beauty in it.
And if you’ve never seen someone who was dancing through grief, you’ve never witnessed that beauty.
It’s show week, we’re doing Giselle, and a dear friend of mine just lost one of the closest people in her life. Yet, she’s here. She’s dancing. She’s living.
It may seem unfair. Why is she alive while her friend is not? Why does her story get to have more chapters when her friends ended so quickly after beginning? How does she figure out her life and her story with such a giant piece of it now gone?
But, here’s the thing, her friends story isn’t over. Not truly. It carries on in my friend. It carries on in her memories of her, in things she does in her honor, in stories she tells and pictures she has. As long as she is living, a part of her friend does, too.
If you’ve never seen someone dancing through their grief, you’ve never seen beauty.
Maybe part of it is the irony of the Ballet we’re performing this week, one of love and loss, but watching my friend in warm up yesterday and on stage today, I find it hard to explain. The raw passion; a passion for living, one that has every nerve exposed, one that hurts like hell right now, it doesn’t display the pain and the suffering expectantly happening inside my friend–it shows hope. It shows me that even when the loss is insurmountable, when the pain is too much, when the world as you know it is gone, life carries on. The things that sit at the core of your being come to the surface, and that is where your beauty is found.
My friend, she is the epitome of beauty. My life is better having her in it. She is kindness and light. She’s the type of person that makes you feel better just by being around her, and seeing her grieving reminds me that I still have her light and kindness in my life, undoubtedly carrying pieces of her friend in her heart as I do pieces of her in mine.
When everything in your life seems to be crumbling around you, remember the darkness can’t last forever. Find the light and cling to it.
You are so very loved.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.