Memorial services trigger me now. Anything that has something to do with death and I crumble like dead leaves in autumn. The right songs easily reduce me to tears. I have this go-to Spotify playlist that wreaks havoc on my heart. I listen to it still because even though the melodies shake the very foundation under my feet, the pain they cause keeps memories of my dad alive.

Kind of like cutting open the scars and getting awashed by the wave of emotions once more.

Am I making sense?

So, anyway, one of Jeff’s friends died, for reasons unclear to me. All I knew was that it was sudden. I wasn’t privy to the details. But there I was on his memorial service, fighting the overwhelming sensation to cry bawl. I never even met the deceased and I was hurting like I just lost my bestfriend.

But really, I knew I was grieving all over again for my dad. Memories of his life and the events leading up to his death played in my head as the family paid tribute to the loss of their loved one with pictures of him flashed on the church’s TV screen with Maroon 5’s Memories as background music.

There’s a time that I remember, when I did not know no pain
When I believed in forever, and everything would stay the same
Now my heart feel like December when somebody say your name
‘Cause I can’t reach out to call you, but I know I will one day.

What do you say to somebody who lost someone so dear to their heart? Because I remember how the condolences sounded hollow. Words you say to fill in the dead air between the hugs. I always said thank you, anyway, to be polite. It’s not their fault. And even if they truly meant it, there was nothing that could bring my dad back. There was nothing anyone could say to unbreak my heart.

So I lined up with Jeff to extend our condolences to the family. Didn’t really say anything, but gave the brother (whom I know) a hug. He was like, “Are you okay?”

It was funny, if you think about it.

We released white balloons into the sky after the mass. I thought about the dolphins as I let it go, praying that it would fall on the ground and not on the ocean. Wondering how close we were to the shore and calculating how long the balloons would empty itself of helium before making its way down.

Raven, on the other hand, didn’t wanna let go. I practically had to force her hand to loosen up on the string in order for her balloon to fly away. She cried the whole time, watching it get smaller and smaller into the horizon.

“You let my balloon fly!” she blamed me, and rightly so.

I know, baby. Letting go hurts.

Walked away with a renewed feeling of gratefulness for everything and everyone I have in my life, including my own.

At the end of the day, as sad as life can be sometimes, there’s still beauty in it to be found.

*Raven at 3 years old

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