Original abstract by Ann marie Houghtailing Instagram trailsnotpaths

There are days I want to wander in the loss
I want to meander through the death toll
And let the waves of those who are gone
Wash over me like a sacred prayer
I do not believe in

Death is not the only thief
Time takes too
It takes your good knees
You didn’t know were precious
And your smooth skin that felt
Unremarkable
And now seems astonishing

There are the losses of mistakes
Made in quick decisions
Of childish rage
And decisions that were never made
From fear or something far smaller
And decisions that were not made quickly enough
And cost you pieces of your heart
Or a portion of precious dignity

I know those hurt especially
Regret never healed a wound

Those losses belong to you
Howl if you want
Or place a simple daisy on their graves
Honor each one of them
Those losses made you too

Shhhhh
We don’t allow shame on this journey
It takes up too much space and air
Forgive yourself

I know
I know
It’s impossible you say
Try, my darling

Say it out loud
In a full-throated voice
As if you were extending grace to a lover
Or a child

YOU ARE FORGIVEN
You made messes
But you are not dirty
You are gorgeously ordinary

Close your eyes
Place your hand on your chest
You are here
You are forgiven
You are loved
Now be still

All of that loss
Big and small
Jagged and sharp
Dull and heavy

You remain

Ann marie Houghtailing is the co founder of Story Imprinting, a communications firm that teaches clients the art and science of storytelling.