The desert is vast but I continue on. I’m tired, weak, but somehow finding the strength to KEEP GOING. Every step is an effort that I dig deep to find and somewhere I find it. I’m present enough to tune out the daunting trek. I’m not thinking about where I have been or where I am going. I’m grateful that I I’m just okay NOW. Out of nowhere, a crushing pain in my chest drops me to my knees. I can hardly breathe. I’ve felt this pain before. It’s almost scary how familiar it has become….the pain of a broken heart and how it comes in waves….tsunami waves. I clutch the dirt in my fists and I try not to cry out. But it’s so damn painful. I just try to breathe. I have to KEEP GOING. “Get up. Get up. Get up! GET UP!” I beg of myself. “Not today. Not today.” I’ve come too far now. I look up and ahead and instead fearing the landscape all around me, and the pain that has welled up inside of me, I realize that I won’t be down for long. There was a time, many times, when I questioned “Will I survive this?” And I did. I survived every single time. Not without it’s scars. Not without it’s fears and second guessing. Not without an emptiness that still follows me around like a ghost. Not without leaving behind all I held dear. But I survived every single time. I bring my right foot under me as I clench my teeth in pain. Then the next foot follows. Still unsure if I can stand amidst the pain, my finger tips still holding, reaching, toward the earth. I slowly let go into the pain. It hasn’t subsided. I accept my fate to carry this pain “like a mother would hold her baby”. And cradling my pain, I rise. The sun is setting in the direction that I’m facing. The sky is orange and pink with the light in the air tinted all around me with a yellow hue. It’s beautiful. It’s fleeting as the orange clouds dance their way into pink then gray and blue…..colors fading and shifting…moving…I instinctively begin to walk in the direction of the changing skies, as if hypnotized by it’s beauty. I’m not afraid. I keep going. With the pain….I keep going….tears streaming…not from the pain but from all the power and beauty that the pain has given to me.