What Love Told Me book



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Beautiful Grief

I see her sitting quietly on Her bench softly crying. 

She seems oblivious to the tears mixing with the rain water on her face. It's dark. 

I approach her. “I see you” I say silently, but the inevitable “Are you okay?” is what actually comes out.

“Of course not” her eyes reply, but the lie “I’m fine” is spoken.

Neither of us believe her.

“May I sit?” I speak, with the rest of the words hanging in the air;“...May I quietly witness your pain ? Will you show me your truth?”

Her heart raw and open responds. “I will show you. It is too much for me to carry alone tonight”


She sips on her bottle. Archers. The sickly sweet smell transports me back in time for a moment and I lose my presence. She offers me a cigarette then when I refuse, apologises for the smoke.

“How did you see me?”. She seems surprised

I tell her I see a lot of people sitting on this bench in their grief. Remembering.

“I come here to be with Her.”  

“Do you talk to Her?” I ask

“All the time”

“What does she say?”

“Many things. Usually she asks me to come and join her, but I haven’t managed it yet”

The ‘yet’ hangs between us.


And she begins to talk. Stories and memories about Her. She was only 16. Her young life cut short by That Man. We all know him.  He took 22 with him in total. The senseless tragedy of Our City.  I feel anger again.

The empathy is stronger now. “That is fucking shit. The pain you must feel. That is really fucking hard”

I am surprised at my Lioness. My language somehow hoping to connect with her rage in the vulgarity of her pain.

She shows me a video of Her singing at a school concert. Her voice is pure. Stunning. ‘There must be some mistake’ I think - She is so real on the screen. So alive

“She was so beautiful and so strong” she tells me

“She must take after you”

She snorts.

But I mean it.  How beautiful she is, sat here in the rain consumed by this cruel grief.  I see so much love in her pain. The despair and unfathomable sadness has so much grace to it. It’s all there blurred together.

She talks. Almost like a Confession. How she’s plans it. How her brain has decided that she must also stop Being. How every time she has tried, she gets saved at the last minute.  

To me it is a great wonder the pills remain untouched in her pocket.

Given the choice between this Life without Her or Death - I am bewildered why she would choose to stay.

‘What stops you?’ I want to ask; ‘Why would you, when she’s calling you so loudly from the Other Side?’

But I do not dare in case my asking sparks her into action. Nudges her over. And for a moment I panic. I move into Fixer. Helper. How can I stop her? How can I save her ? I’ve been put on her path tonight. But what the hell can I do ? Show me. Show me. Show me...

Luckily she’s tired. It won’t be tonight

We both know

I feel relieved. She feels weak.

Maybe tomorrow


I selfishly ask “What are you going to do now?”, shamefully signalling our meeting is almost over. I am relieved when she tells me she’ll go back. 

She pauses. “Thank you - you are so kind”

“It is me who should be thanking you. Thank you for showing me it all.”

And we walk back. Mostly in silence but with some awkward snippets of small talk. The Vulnerability gone now. The intimacy forgotten between us. 


As she leaves, I embrace her and hold on a little longer.

Perhaps for myself rather than her.

As I’ll never know whether she’ll make it. 

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