I have been learning how to live without.
I’ve also been baking non-stop. If you don’t know me, then let me tell you, I ain’t the kind of girl that bakes.
But this week? Brownies, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls.
I learned a lot about loss when I lived in Apartment G.
My doctor told me I had to cut out sugar and white flour. I didn’t respond well to being told that I couldn’t have chocolate or pizza or cheesecake. It was a sad day when I was forced to break up with Ben & Jerry.
Now, here I am a year later. I’ve learned to do without it. Apparently, I learned to bake without it. I learned a lot about grace while giving up a lot of things I love.
Not just sugar or flour, I lost a lot more than food when I lived in Apartment G.
I am now seeing just how much these months have changed me. I am not even close to being the same person I was when my sister and I unpacked our lives in that little space.
In that time, grace grew me up to be steady. She taught me how to choose love when it seemed like a complete waste. She sat with me while I ate peanuts and tried to figure out how to dance through someone else’s sadness.
Her elegance and class kept me from saying all the things I held in my clenched fists. “Keep your head high, love.” Over and over she would whisper words like, “You’ve always been enough.”
She would grab my hand in critical moments, tuck my hair behind my ear and remind me,”You are better than the words you want to speak in your anger.”
Grace is the kind of girl who wears a dress to meet you at a diner. She orders coffee at 9 pm and settles in for the long haul. Grace knows how to love the bad, endure the imperfect, but grace looks for the beauty, the worth, in everything she sees.
Even after I ignored her, left her in the cracks and crevices of apartment G, she quietly followed me. She followed me back to my parents house, and hangs out with me in the kitchen while I bake.
Because that’s who she is. Grace tells you to do what seems impossible and then she teaches you how. When you can’t quite sing the words, she teaches you how to hum the tune. She teaches you how to live with less. She’s beautiful in that way.
Even in all of her elegance, grace knows about living with less. She knows how to make loss seem lighter.
Even when I was knee-deep in blame and anger, she was waiting for the day when I came back around. Always waiting with her wit, strong coffee, healthy breakfast and some endless laughter.
Grace is teaching me to do the same. She’s teaching me to be classy in my efforts, poised in my anger. She is teaching me how to stick around for the long-haul, even in the midst of terrible loss.
Grace addresses birthday cards that may never be appreciated for their sentiment and she never believes that it is a waste.
Grace knows Thursdays are for calling to say “I miss you” even if they don’t miss you back.
I’ve always known her, but we became good friends when I learned to pay bills and sweep my own kitchen. I think maybe that was fate because in these days I need her more now than ever.
Maybe G was for Grace. Maybe those days in that tiny apartment were about learning how to stand alone when others walk away, about learning how to live without, with less and with loss.