can you unprotect yourself?

Lately, my heart has been full for several beloved people in my life who are struggling with big things.

Today, I offer this love letter. To those people who have held space for me when I needed it most. To those people who allow me to sit beside them in their hardest times. And to you, for your heroic moments of letting go, those moments that allow you to be present with another human being. Because sometimes really hard stuff happens in life, doesn't it?



you cannot help.

You cannot fix it.

You cannot make it better.


You can do the following things:

Show up.

Sit there.

Go away.

Give space.

Ask questions.

Shut up.


Not touch.

Make the food.

Clean up the food.

Say I'msosorrythisishappeningmylovemyfriendyou     to you  

I'm so sorry this is where you are right now it's awful I can see from here that it's so awful for you and I am sorry


I love you

Again and again and again and again (depending on the hurt)

Today and tomorrow and months from now (depending on the pain)


You can do these things when 

his fatherchildbest friend dies


she's been betrayed


his heart is broken


they are embarrassed         publicly


when her day is going to shit he doesn't get cast her best most loved most green and purple drawing gets ripped         to shreds


When the worst happening 

is happening

to someone you 


you can do all these things.


This is a lot of things.




sometimes all these things feel like nothing

up against a tidal wave of grief

from your 72-year-old mother

your 38-year-old friend

your 8-year-old child.


And that nothing-feeling will sometimes mean that you try instead to paper over it 

pretend it doesn't exist 

not bring it up 

distract with something loud and shiny

compare it with something so much worse

forget to call today and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

find the silver lining

offer up your duct tape scotch tape caulk gun rubber cement any-other-tool-we've-got-you-take-it-it's-yours-PLEASE!




it is hard







to sit with someone else's grief

and see that we

none of us

not one of us

can undo it.


These are perhaps the biggest questions in all the kinds of loving we do:


Can you let go

dear one,

let go of safety?

Can you unprotect yourself

to hold my hand

while I learn to be 

with what cannot be fixed?


And will I let you?


How much, my love, can we weather together?