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  • Writer's pictureShey Yearsley

I love you, I love you, I love you!

I understand that the grief never goes away. But occasionally, it melts into the background. Like a stretch of shoreline on a wide beach, when the wave recedes, the sand glimmers and sparkles in the light. The beauty shines through so much more vividly.

We’ve felt you in our midst, Brook. We’ve witnessed your gifts everywhere we turn: The two red-tailed hawks turning slowly in the sunlight, the bald eagle gliding through the morning, the bobcat (or mountain lion?) slinking along the fence line of Mom’s garden then sitting to watch the house in the dark night.

Your death has also shattered the pretenses and petty disagreements that have cluttered the space between what we feel and what we do. It’s laid bare again the intense love and joyful warmth of our family. And tonight, we felt it.

After we’d put away the photo albums, picked the boy’s legos and art projects from the floor, and shared a difficult conversation about the logistics of laying your body to rest, we each began to migrate into our separate spaces. I was just sitting down to write when I heard a familiar song playing: Michael Franti’s Say Hey (I Love You). Tess had turned it on and she and Tonneson, were just beginning to dance. I put aside my notebook, got up, and joined in. Kai got up from the couch to join. Gresham stopped washing the dishes and started moving. Soon everyone in our small kitchen/living room was out of their chairs and dancing. We called Mom down from her room and all of a sudden, we were in the midst of a family dance party.

Everything else disappeared as we lowered the lights and moved our bodies together in the dark. Zeba and Tonneson in sweat pants and bare torsos, flashed their lean little bodies in unrestricted movement, showing off their break-dancing moves. Mom and Dad shimmied together the way they have for 39 years. Kai and Gresham, elbows up, heads thrown back, able to make any movement look gooooood. Tess and Ben moving fluidly through the music, me and Adam loose and long and unencumbered. And your beautiful Yaoska: graceful, smooth and smiling quietly in the dance. We passed movements like a chain through the small space, warm and laughing and full of life. We kept adding songs to the playlist. We kept dancing and smiling and feeling our bodies in movement together and with you. We felt your arms around all of us, smiling and laughing your way along with us.

And after the music, our boys, each with a candle lit watching the flames gently light the space.

These great waves—they keep coming. They crash us with an intensity of emotion that we could never fathom. I’m beginning to understand now that the crashing is also a part of the beauty. They create space for our true love to shine through.

I love you, I love you, I love you!

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