I heard many voices, in my head. My heart though, felt only two things. Grief and love. I decided to be very careful who I listened to. I found that the grief is fresh and ever present. I found that the love is forgiving and relentless. I become crippled in the grief and I become young in the love. I imagined what these two feelings would look like if I were to paint them as a person sitting next to me. The grief was an old woman with very long hair and her eyes were smudged in black and she sat stooping with her hands over her eyes. I knew I could never paint her how she felt to me, nobody could. She was very powerful and had an important message. The love was a young girl with very big eyes, but there was a sadness there too, in the innocence that she could be hurt. Does love turn to grief always I wondered? Are these two women the old one and the young one, one and the same? Is it inevitable? The answer is two- yes and no. Is all I could come up with. There is a way to bridge the gap. That way is me. Grief has a message and life hurts the heart. Love has a message, it cannot die. I have come to feel that love is the grit we will endure. Love is that which is causing us pain. Love is that which will heal our grief, by opening us to who, inside and outside of us we have shut out. Love and grief are not separate but two separate entrances on the same journey. I feel the healing is the exposure to the two realities. All those voices have their points to make, their ways to “solve” our suffering. However, what the head does not understand is the unavoidable grit of love’s transformative intent. That is why life has given us music and art, dance and poetry. It is to bring life and death together, who I am seeing and feeling as grief and love. Who cannot be apart. Both women were captivating to me as I imagined how they would look sitting next to me, how I would paint them, their eyes, their faces. The language of their bodies. Each made me appreciate and understand the position of the other. The old gnarled, deep, bottomless pain of the crying old women- imagining the complexity of her appearance drew me in, backwards and down. The soft little girl with big open eyes. Making everything smile around her. She made me want to love others, especially any unloved child within me still. They seemed a contradiction and yet strangely dependent upon another as if I could not separate them or choose which one I would rather be with. These are real women. This grief is real. This love is true. I am sad. I love everyone. I am happy without a reason sometimes. Its because they are together inside of me. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. It’s because they do need each other, they cannot ever be pulled apart.