The Giver

I was summoned to the water today, told to write and write and write! Today.

Then, put it out into the public eye. It’s important for other’s to see. So what is it I’m supposed to say? What is it? Why by the water? Yesterday was an emotional day for me. So I was ready to do anything. I heeded the message and headed to the lake. Clarity about all that had transpired would be good for me.

Initial Thoughts

Waves crashing over rocks. Polishing their edges. Washing them clean. Waves repeating over and over again. And the sun? It stays steady. Shining down on me. I felt a level of gratitude just being able to sit in this space. Then the story started to come to me and I simply let my pen write

What Happens To The Giver?

What happens to a person who’s called into this life to be a giver? That person is drawn to people who need and she opens the door. She says, “Come in.” Her hugs are genuine and so welcome. As she reassures. “I’m here. I can listen. Tell me your story.” And out pours the tears mixed with “I don’t know what to do.” She comforts. “It’s ok. Let’s just do this for now.” And she sits with the tears until it’s time for another hug. This time longer until the sobbing subsides.

Then The Stories Begin

She learns every detail. She listens for more. She gives the gift of her time but also full attention. She hears between the words. They’re absorbed into her very soul. Every painful moment, every sudden recollection of joy. Every fear, every bit of confusion, uncertainty, desperate pleas to make it all be done. And the loss. The incredible unbearable loss.

Grief

She’d opened the door to Grief. And there she was staring into the sad eyes of despair. She held them in her gaze and said, “We can get through this together.” How did it all of a sudden become “We”? But there it is because that’s who she is. Her’s is a respite center, a shelter from the storm. People are drawn to her words, the sound of her voice, her laughter, her light. She set it all out there, free for the taking like a giant buffet table adorned with life lines. And Grief grabbed on. Not knowing this was what it was going to do but that’s how it goes. She didn’t ask why Grief chose her door. She could see the raging sea. She couldn’t help but offer a raft.

Then They Traveled Together

Then the two of them traveled together through the stories. Words piled up like rocks on the shore. Repeated, cried over, and repeated again. Wave after wave of memory. Rolling tumultuous storms that ebbed and flowed over and over again. Still she stayed there; reliable, steady. An anchor keeping the raft somewhat tethered.

A Shoreline

In time, Grief saw a shoreline. The raft drifts closer and Grief stepped ashore. Sea legs, at first, shaky. It was hard to take those first steps. Still she encouraged “It will make you stronger in time. Let’s go. It’s OK. Let’s go.”

Once Onshore

She showed Grief places of simple beauty and peaceful surroundings. She walked him past art and he found himself sharing that he too is an artist. She took him to a woods and he shared his love of hiking and he took her to the top of a scenic rock where they both sat for a long time inside their own thoughts. When she tried to stand, she realized it’s difficult. He offered his hand but she was quick to say “No, I need to do this by myself.” Her thought was that she was the giver. He was depending on her strength. Days later, he brought it up, “Remember when I offered you my hand and you said you wanted to do it yourself? You don’t need to do that when you’re with me. I can help.”

It’s hard for givers to receive.

Their journeys continued. She walked him back to the water where they walked along the sand. He shared his passion for the smell of the ocean and continued to share stories, so many stories of all the things he loves and loved. All things nature, sunrises and sunsets, the birth of baby ducks in the spring, the sight of hummingbirds over his entryway. He shared his gentle spirit right back to her and all of a sudden she felt gratitude for his presence in her life. Grief had become a living person filled with memories of joy and laughter and beauty and talent and love. So much love.

The Lessons

She realized, at some point, that she had taught him things, like never giving up, but allowing the tears to fall. She’d taught him to look for the beauty in each day. But he had also taught her to see the beauty in herself and believe in her talents but also being willing to take someone’s hand when it was needed and let others in to her story. Together, they shared an a very unique love.

But Then It Was Time

Then the day came when this person stood up tall and strong enough to truly go it alone. He was ready to embrace his future. He was no longer so afraid except for the possibility of hurting her. She realized this and said, “Now I am in your way. I need to step back so you can continue down your path.”

And the door opened and he left, not perfect but so much stronger. He left with confidence and some of her light, leaving behind Grief. All the burdens he’d carried into that day were left there now for her. It’s now she who grieves a loss. She’d become accustomed to his presence in her life. She’d made space for him at her table and now it’s she who sits with the empty chair. And she cries. Her heart hurts. And so she does what she has learned how to do…she goes back to the door and waits…for the next knock. She will be ready to open the door. She always does. She’s a Giver.

The Moral of the Story

This is what we need to know. A giver is a person who will give you every thing they have. Sometimes, to the detriment of their own well being. It’s not uncommon then, at least for me to realize at some point that all the needs of the griever have become embedded in me. At first, I don’t see it or hear it but when I do, I realize that I have to step back. A giver never wants to become someone else’s burden.

For the griever: Know that you are taking everything from the giver. Be aware. Be kind. And if you can, when you are ready, know that she would love it if you came back as the strong one and once again offered her your hand.