They have been broken down, ripped apart, lied to and cheated on. They have been battered and bruised, ripped apart and shamed and yet, somehow, they have overcome. They have stood tall against adversity and overcome the odds when the world said they wouldn’t, that they couldn’t. They have worked hard to rebuild their lives that were shattered.

The best people I know have shown gratitude with grace, met sorrow with sincerity, and found peace in the pieces of their wrecked lives and empty promises.

These humans are comfortable with discomfort and they appreciate that pain is not just a feeling, but a phenomenon. They have bathed in failure and they have showered in suffering. They have felt it all. They are raw. They are open and vulnerable. They are truth tellers and seekers of hope.

The best people I know have learned that a loud scream is no match for a silent stare. They know the aching empty horror that makes bones throb, the heavy darkness that light fears, and the cold dust where embers used to glow. For they have lived in hell and survived.

They have known hurt that is real and dripping with despair. They have collapsed, time and time again, only to rise once more from the heavy burdens of grief and pain. Their wounds have not won. They have healed. They move forward with a heart forged in stone. With beauty from ashes.

The best people I know whisper to themselves, sighing so long that their lies became truths and their shards became scars, whispers as pure as pain:

Hurt me, break me, and slay me, if you want. Lie to me, step on me, and steal from me, if you will, but I am stronger than your weakness; I will shine brighter than your darkness; and I am braver than your cowardice.

They have taken shrapnel to the soul, broken hopes and broken bones, but they continue to battle. They have turned valiant. They are noble.

The best people I know have seen soulmates become strangers and have felt ghosts in their veins where gods used to reign.

They have learned that a broken heart can shatter and a shattered heart can splinter, but, eventually, it can break no more and in that beautiful moment, the broken become unbreakable. They are fearless. They are set free.

The best people I know are not immune to heartache; they are intimate with it. They are the blessed, broken angels circling the holy kingdom of forgiveness, the destroyed divine crying tears of pristine grief.

They are the lucky, scarred saviors pacing the grieving halls of redemption, the wounded heroes murmuring hymns of clean consolation. They have been beat up and spat on, kicked in and burnt out—and yet somehow, they have overcome. They are heroic. They have persisted.

The best people I know have been hurt the worst.

And their story isn’t over yet.

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Jessica Grillo

After suffering the loss of my sister and mother in March, I started writing about my personal journey through this lonely and brutal process . I found my voice, I found my truth , but most importantly I found healing in the words that were flowing from my soul.