I don’t know, but I know loss colors everything. Loss shades every aspect of my life. I live a kaleidoscope of moments and in each one there are the shifting colors laced in loss. A beautiful sunset paints the sky and somewhere in the majesty there is that part of me that leaves traces of loss on the landscape.

Benjamin June 23 joy and sorrowI hear my brother’s voice and remember our mother. He says a certain phrase and I remember our brother. Memory colors moment. Loss is one of the colors that color me.

What color is this moment? It has been a long time since my wife and children died. The kaleidoscope has turn so many times through time. The colors shift and the light that reflects the colors has reshaped and reshaped, but underlying it all is there are primary colors that remain.

Sorrow has its own color. Emptiness has its shades. Longing leaves traces deep within me.

I live a full life shadowed by the shading of sorrow. It is forever with me. My laughter echoes in the empty chambers painted in dark hues. I explore a multi-colored feeling, a song that rises from my past as I drive in the present, and lingering near my gratitude for all I have is the moment that isn’t here.

My future is painted a different color now. At one time I had bold colors that stretched across my landscape. I had bright greens across the land and a golden sky. The colors of promise and hope easily danced upon my canvas.

When we found my wife and children were to die, the canvas went up in flames. The colors melted in the raging fire. The smell of burning colors woke us in the morning and drifted in the night air. We picked up the charred remains of our canvas, studying the charcoaled colors that stole the greens and bright reflections.

Benjamin June 23 paintedCanvas after canvas we painted each day. When the day came too long we painted an hour. When hours slipped beyond us, we learned to paint a moment. And when the canvas burned, we started a new canvas with our diminishing colors.

We painted beautiful scenes, but hidden with the texture of color were the shades of sorrow. We knew they were to die. So we knew we had to live in living color until our colors grew dark and faded away.

Today, my palette is tenuous. It rests upon the fragility of time and I paint a moment with colors that no longer carry the brilliance of my youth. Still, I paint. And I paint. And I paint again.

I will paint till life runs out of color. I still know so many beautiful colors that glide across my senses. But I am deeply aware that sorrow shades them all. Loss is embedded in every canvas I paint, in every paint I use, in every stroke I make. Loss is in the eyes of a child that sees for the first time, the joy of seeing a young couple deeply in love, the hands of an old woman worn thin by wisdom. I see so much beauty and I want to paint it all.

Loss does not color me, but it is a shading that sits in every color. Whatever I paint. Whatever joy, happiness, sorrow, love, peace or blissful moment I place on my canvas, it will carry the shade of loss. But I am grateful for every color I have, every canvas I paint, every moment filled with all the colors of the universe.

Benjamin June 23 SorrowHowever, there are days I want to stop painting. There are days that the canvas is empty. There are days where all my color turns black. Yet, when I dip my brush into the darkness and touch the canvas, color returns. Somewhere in the darkness, light appears on an empty canvas and black turns into the blue of the sky that hovers inches over bright green grass. Sunsets and sunrises surface and life finds me wanting to paint again. The simple touch of the brush on an empty canvas transforms me and I yearn to paint just one more moment, just one more time.

So, I paint. And I paint. And I paint again. I will paint till I need to paint no more.

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