As Much As You Should

by Brigitte Alexi (United States of America)

A decision that pushed me to the edge Ireland

We had the same birthday. Two years apart. She was the kinder, harder working, better at getting along with everyone, better at being a good friend and better at being present half of our whole. Looking out my window on our way to Dublin, I still couldn’t understand why she never got to see this side of the world. Why her. Why not me? When we got to UCD I ran around the airport, in awe. At the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, in the fields of the Powers Court Estate, I felt alive. The open fields reminded me of something familiar. The next day in County Cork, in a coffee shop and an older gentlemen came up behind me and whispered to me and said “your heart is gold and all you love will find you again, bigger and brighter, May God bless you”. I left America, spent two weeks defending it to the Irish and I let this small country across the world see me and see how much I was hurting. And that’s when I realized to the outside world, my brokenness was humanizing. It was attractive and magnetic. My ability to feel and to be moved brought people towards me, not away. To be understood across the world, that changed me. That sent me home feeling like I’d be all right. That moment, and those words, that broke me down much like the reminders of April of 2013, they taught me something about grief, and pain, and people that I didn’t believe anymore. When she died, I felt like the one connection to myself I had in the outside world was gone. I felt like I ran out of time. I felt like her Army recruiter had killed the only person who appreciated me. And I was right. They seem completely separate when you write them down, without the word death, but in a coffee shop, so far away from home, someone saw in me, the truth. Life and death, grief and joy are meant to exist beside one another. And I feel like we don’t hear that as much as we should.