My teardrops don’t fall like rain. They blow away, swimming through the wind like wishes made on dandelion fluff. They float away, following their own pathway, pretending they came from their own unique spark in the universe.
Mine choose to land on your words.
They pour down my cheeks, splashing paper, smearing graphite.
I was laughing ten minutes ago but my throat is buttoned shut now.
You were supposed to be okay,
and I know.
I know you’re not. I know it’s not.
It’s okay to not be okay. I know that, too.
I know things. I’ve seen things.
I don’t know what you’re going through, though. I’ve held troubles, but they weren’t shaped like yours. I’ve lost, but none of my missing pieces would have filled your gaps.
I know some things, not all things.
I know I want to be here for you. I want to ease what I can. I want to give you the words I don’t have, and the hugs I know you can’t even feel right now. I want, I want, I want…
Nothing I want matters right now, and it’s important for you to know that. It’s important for you to know that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s important for you to remember that you know things.
You’ve seen things.
You will survive this. All the things that aren’t okay will one day be okay again, and that’ll be okay, too.
It’s okay to be okay. It’s okay to be not okay.
I’ll be here either way, and you can rest with me. You can send me your words and I will read them. I will live them. I will see them. You can’t scare me.
I’ve seen things. I know things.
I survive things.
And even though it may not feel like it right now…
So do you.
I hurt when you hurt. The worst part of prison was not being out here when you were suffering. I got word, through the grapevine, of the divorces and death, the pitfalls and stumbles, the depressions and diagnoses, and I wanted to be here. I knew there were dozens of things I didn’t hear anything about at all.
I expected to have hard days, but I didn’t realize how painful it would be to know you were having hard days when I was too far away to help. I kept reminding myself it didn’t matter what I wanted, and how — for most of you– I couldn’t do anything anyway.
Now that I’m out, I still hurt when you hurt, and I still can’t do much more than be here and want good things for you, but I am so very thankful for the freedom that grants me the right to do that in real time. I am thankful for the knowing, always. I am thankful to be here, even if it’s just to hope that you know I am here for you– waiting confidently for the day that everything is absolutely okay for you again.
And it will be.
I know things.
[Artwork from Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel.]