It always amazes me how Anger can make Grief disappear. She must be scared of him. I wish I was someone who liked to be angry.
Next time you invite me to a life cycle event of any kind, you might as well address the invitation to Emma and her Grief. Grief will tag along regardless although she rarely RSVPs. She will sneak in, tucked under my arm or maybe in my pocket. She will wait until the happiest moment and then punch me in the stomach. She’s my ball and chain at these things. Never fails to remind me. Never gives me respite. Will there ever be a party she does not crash?
The flow of words continues. Can’t stem this tide quite yet. And this morning’s shower had me thinking about the “what ifs”. Dangerous and treacherous territory. The kind you can get lost in, even when you know better than to go there. And I’m wondering about certainty and illusion. How much of what we felt would have faded or been challenged by life’s “normal” problems. If the universe had spun us this way instead of that, would we have lasted anyway? Maybe you had baggage I didn’t know about. Maybe if things had been different you wouldn’t have been so quick to overlook mine. If I hadn’t saved your life, sat by your bedside, would you have been so forgiving? These things haunted me back then and now they return, unwelcome familiars, to eat away at me again. And what’s the point really? Why dwell on what you can never know? Like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, we’ll never know whether it was an apple or a pomegranate or a mythical fruit that existed only in that time and place. We can only speculate. And in all likelihood, what seems magical was probably just what we say it was. An ordinary apple. Made extraordinary by the role it played in human history. You didn’t love me in any magical, perfect way. You just wanted to love me and I wanted to be loved. So simple.
And yet, because the last real thing you said to me was the most beautiful, I was left with the glory of hope instead of the simplicity of reality. Waiting for you to come back and reclaim me, fulfill the promise, renew the hope. And you’re never coming back, but I’m still here looking down at it dashed upon the rocks of happenstance.
Is it any wonder I’m afraid to hope. That I rather kill this before it’s born than let it grow only to disappoint me? Is it any wonder that I can’t live in the grey spaces? That I demand black and white answers only? And the logical, undamaged part of me knows how unfair that is. How unsustainable. But grief has made a tyrant of me and I know better than to try to shake her. She’ll go when she’s good and ready.
So maybe this isn’t a new beginning. Only a step in that direction. A learning piece so I can have a better chance next time. Or maybe this is it and the universe will spin us no matter what we try to make of this on our own.
Back to the maybes. Right where I started. But the day is beginning so I put grief back on the shelf. Later, I tell her. It’s not like she’s going anywhere.
Sometimes I think I’ve left grief behind me. I’ll have these big moments. Cathartic. Lots of tears. Usually some public place where I’m trapped and anonymous. An airplane for example. And I’ll walk away feeling lighter. Sweet relief or whatever.
I left grief on the airplane, I’ll think.
Buts it’s never true. She’s never gone indefinitely. It’s more that I’ve shed her for the moment. Like a snake sheds its skin. The dead skin stays behind but there’s new skin beneath it even before it’s gone. Grief is like that. It’ll take awhile before it starts to itch again but it will. Some other airplane. Some other day. Some other trigger. And I’ll be molting all over again.
It’s like grief makes a part of us cold-blooded. Reptilian. An physiological change. A crisis of identity. You cant see it, but it’s there. Permanent. Irrevocable.
Tomorrow the sun will come out and grief will be hard to imagine. But she’s there lurking in the shadows. I know shell find me again. She always does. I’m beginning to itch just thinking about it.
Does it make sense to start a blog about grief almost three years after the initial loss? I don’t even known if I’ve got enough to say for more than this one entry. I guess we’ll see. All those poems i wrote in my head about grief being my silent parter; my invisible friend. I just watched a movie where it was described as a brick in your pocket that you carry around. I wondered if I had somehow written that scene without knowing it. Not my words but i understood them like they were. I couldnt write for the longest time. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to write about this. Now I suddenly have a lot to share. The timings not coincidental. This is the first time I’ve felt this way. Since I loved and lost you. This is the first new new-love since that. And it’s not even love yet. And I’m falling apart.
I will write about this like you’re dead even though you’re practically my neighbor. But the you that I loved, he died. You don’t even remember those precious moments. You dint remember changing the lightbulb that made me fall on love with you or serving the soup that made me know you noticed me. You’re not him. You’re his shell. And you’ll never read this so I can’t hurt you by writing it. It’s a truth we all know anyway. Even you. Oh the horror of it all.
Anyway, it’s starting to fade from my memory too now. I just cried on a plane to San Francisco because I couldn’t remember what you said to me that time, when you were driving and we were on the phone. I was fighting you – trying to talk you out of coming to me. We talked in circles and I know at one point you got mad and I suddenly got scared. I know by the end if it I gave in to you. But I can’t remember what we said or what you did to convince me. Maybe it was just that sudden fear of losing you. Maybe that was enough to make me take a second look. But I can’t remember the details and you certainly never will. And my heart breaks all over again. The tragedy of it all. The cruel unfairness. We should be growing old together. It should be our child being celebrated. Three years. We’d have danced at that wedding. Id have given birth to that child. But you’re a shell and I’m falling in love again (falling in like? Open to the possibility of love let’s say) so everything I boxed up so tightly – everything I walled up….its all coming down now. I’m unravelling and I know it’s time so I’m writing.
Grief was driving. Then she took a back seat. Now she’s breathing down my neck even though she’s nudging me to move on. It’s time, she whistpers but it hurts so much more than her silence.
I don’t want to stop writing. I want to let it pour and pour out of me but my battery is dying and I’m smothering my new love (possibility of love) before I can wake up and find him gone. you had a headache and we went to sleep and nothing was was ever the same. You never woke up and even when I think my nightmare is over it’s not. Will it ever be? How can it? How can it?