"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
- Mother Teresa
That is where I am trying to be. In a place where I focus on how much I love the people I have lost. I want that to be my driving emotion. More than one person I care for died in the shooting. I am focusing on the loss of Allan, but that is because it is so large to me. I feel I need to find a way to understand that one loss so I can process all the deaths that took place that day.
I have every one of their phone numbers in my cell phone and I cannot figure out what to do with that. I started to text Allan one day. I was somehow disoriented enough to start typing a message I can never send.
Sometimes something hurts so much that it feels like it has a physical presence. It feels large and looming. The loss is enormous and surrounds me and makes me feel as if I am seeing everything through a haze. As if it has swallowed me whole.
I realize that the loss is so tremendous because of how much love I have for the people who died in front of me so suddenly, all in one day. So I am trying to find a way to focus on that love. If I must be swallowed by a whale, let it be made of something good. Let me be overwhelmed by how much I love them. Let me take that love and use it in how I interact with the world.
I'm not angry. Perhaps I should be, but I don't have room for anger. The man who shot my loved ones is dead. He took his own life. He is irrelevant and was, to me, from the moment they died - although we did not learn of his death until weeks later.
I have lost so much in the last year and a half. My last tenuous shreds of illusion about safety. My plans and even my desire to marry. Family members have died. And friends. Friends who were some of the most remarkable people I have ever known. This is not a disingenuous and distorted memory of the dead. I tend to be appalled at the rosy cheeked perfection with which people remember their dead. No, each of the friends I have lost were truly unusual and remarkable. Death came and took the best from among us. I do not want to be made up of loss.
So here I am, loving. Loving until it pains me in ways I could never have imagined. Loving like something in my chest cavity is straining to cry out and make itself heard in the ether. I am going to accept it and try to find a way to take joy in my capacity to love them. I am not going to let it close me down or prevent me from loving other people. I am not going to let myself swim in this suffering.
I will love so much that there will be no more room in me for hurt. Only love.