The Guest

A scene,
A scent,
A song,
a knock
on the door.

Quiet at first
and then louder.
I want to ignore it.
I try to ignore it,
picking up my pace,
turning up the volume.

It feels too risky
to open the door,
too inconvenient,
too overwhelming.
I try to ignore the knocking,
but it doesn’t stop.

Sometimes it surprises me.
It comes in
unexpected moments,
begging to be let in.

So finally
I pause my pace.
Reluctantly, timidly,
I open the door.
I start to welcome the guest.
They come right in
and fill the room.

Immediately, regret floods me.
I want them out,
I want them to disappear,
I feel myself

Then I look at the guest,
They look back at me,
Just asking for
time and space.
Don’t rush me,
the guest whispers,
Don’t push me away,
That’s a dishonor.
I won’t overtake you.
Look me in the face,
Give me space,
The guest pleads.

A tiny bit of space,
I finally allow,
and to my surprise,
the guest doesn’t take
over the house,
Or throw me out.
Instead they ask
to cry together,
in the presence
of another,
Who catches tears
in a bottle.
A tear catcher,
how strange,
how intimate.
Again I give in,
the pull of the guest
is so strong.

Then we talk,
we recollect,
we remember,
we laugh,
we cry again.

Over time, the visits become
less frequent,
still difficult,
often unexpected,
quite personal.
Each visit
asks for my face,
a little space,
to slow my pace.

I am learning
to welcome grief.

Addie Mumey is the founder of Steadfast (@steadfaststory), and organization that comes alongside women as they explore their stories to discover greater healing, growth, and freedom. She has found story work to be a powerful tool in her own story and considers it a great honor to journey with others in the waters of story, trauma, calling purpose, and spirituality. Addie was trained in Narrative-Focused Trauma Care by the Allender Center at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. In addition to her Allender training, she has a masters degree in psychology from Columbia University with a focus on global mental health and trauma.