In whom, in what, can a safe haven be found? When there is nothing left to hold on to, who will hold me?

Benjamin Don't need wordsWhen Lydia died, Matt was at his grandparent’s home waiting for the news. After they took her body from our home and before I went to tell Matt his mother was dead, I went looking for Peter.

Peter was my age and we carried some similarities in our paths, but our paths were more different than the same. Peter was single, never married. He had no children. And to that point he had not had a significant loss. Peter knew nothing of what I was going through, but he went through it with me nonetheless.

It was Peter’s heart I sought in my brokenness. I sought his sincerity. His innocence. His willingness to harbor my sorrow.

It was three long days till she opened her eyes for the last time. It was ten long years of pain and sorrow weaving our love in moments surrendered. It was a lifetime of minutes that exhaled that night.

I found Peter sitting with a group of friends. I had no energy to sit with others. Peter and I went to have coffee. I just needed to be, gather myself and get ready for Matt. I needed a harbor to rest before I went back into the storm.

I remember nothing of our conversation. I remember the booth at the greasy spoon restaurant and noise that didn’t matter. It was bad coffee. It was too bright. It was too chaotic. But it was not the storm.

I didn’t need someone who understood my pain. I needed someone to let my pain be. I needed a harbor for my sorrow, someone that could weather the storm of my decimation. I needed someone who could listen. I needed someone I could be silent with and didn’t have to fill the silence.

Benjamin HarborI didn’t finish the bad coffee. I had to travel thirty miles to get to Matt before bedtime. Peter offered to go with me. I declined. He graciously had sat with me in my aloneness and I needed to sit deeper in my aloneness alone to steady my heart, to ready myself for my child.

The drive was long in depth, short in distance. Even though I was about to tell Matt his mother was dead, I knew his thoughts would not be confined to her death only. I knew his mind would follow his heart into his own death. For his nine years of life to this point had been juxtaposed by his own inevitable death.

I walked into the living room gathering what was still living in me to sit next to our child. Only his eyes moved as they fell into mine. It was simple, to the point. “Mama, died.”

Matt was his mother’s child. He was not prone to drama. He was motionless while the world spun.

In the unfolding of the night, all I wanted was to harbor his pain. I wanted to give him what Peter gave me. I wanted to hold him in the safety of his sorrow and give him the space to feel, to cry, to breath, to hurt, to love…to know he was safe to be. I just wanted to be his harbor and his haven on the night of his greatest storm.

We had three more years between Lydia’s last breath and Matt’s, three precious and priceless years. We harbored together, ventured together, explored together and in many ways died together. Our hearts were inseparable; our love still is.

Benjamin Hearts inseparableI haven’t spoken with Peter in many years. Our lives drifted in different directions. I can’t imagine Peter being any different from when he harbored me. It is Peter’s nature to be Peter. That is what I loved about him most. His realness and open heart was the safe haven I needed in that moment of reprieve. He harbored me.

When I sit with another I often think of what it means to harbor the life before me. I don’t need words. On most occasions, words simply get in the way.

I did not need words that night in the coffee shop. Matt did not need words the night his mother died. Matt needed me. Just like I need you.

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