gayle with yellow flowers Because it’s the color of the sun, at least it seems so from here on Earth. Yellow smiles even when we don’t feel like it. It tickles the tender spot between our ribs. Makes us laugh or at least manage to giggle. Two years ago when girlfriend grief was chewing my skin, the idea of GriefFriend came to me. I will never forget that moment: I was having tofu and diet coke in a food court in one of those Upstate New York towns that no one’s ever heard of. My friend had just died a few weeks earlier so tears were always on the tip of my eyes. I was watching stranger’s legs as they walked by and I started feeling so completely alone. I began to cry, uncontrollably. Pitifully. I sort of panicked; my phone was dead and there I was sobbing in the Middle- of- Nowhere, NY. When the cry died, I wiped my eyes and decided I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel the frightening despair I had just crawled through. I wanted grievers to have a space where they could cry together, share their painful stories until they didn’t need to share them any more, and just be. A few years later and here I sit at my junky dining room table talking with you. I still feel bereft sometimes but I have a community of hurting people that I can call at anytime. This is so yellow, so happy. GriefFriend’s signature color is yellow. Isn’t that ironic and beautiful? When we think of bereavement, we think of the color black. Black hats at the funeral, black Bible, black hearse. That is ugly and sad. GriefFriend is beautifully yellow like a field of spring flowers screaming at the side of the highway. Hopeful like a plate of pancakes wearing a tiny yellow hat of butter. Home but not the one where your parents are slapping each other as Jeopardy fills the tv screen. Grief Friend is our NEW home, our real home, where the sidewalk’s edge and the line coaxing the road in two and the moon’s light whisper yellow in our palms. It’s that cheery shade of yellow that Volkswagens wear; not the harsh yellow of a lemon’s pockmarked peel. I want you to know something: you are not alone and neither am I. We can cry and chortle and frolick with tears wide and wet on our cheeks. We can call our best friends and say “I am hurting, again, will you listen?” and even if they say “no” we can go outside and sit beneath a big, yellow, mothering sun and come back to life. We are survivors, lost yet found each time we catch sight of a yellow balloon that’s gotten loose and is finally rejoicing in the sky. We are free to rejoice. Finally.
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