Monday, January 24, 2011

On grief

I found that Grief itself the most awkward of houseguests. It comes at a time when you least want it, yet it moves in without so much thinking of your feelings, which is odd because thats exactly what it is - your feelings.

It speaks in many tongues - never in the same language to you, or those simply round.   "No, don't mind me," it says when you need comfort the most, "I'll just hover about, make myself known at irregular intervals, and when you least expect it, see it what I do best, its what makes me, me."  And it does.  Without instruction, but shrouded in convention, we are expected to weep, but are chastised for that spasms sudden on set.  We are told "It's OK, let it out," by people who move further from us because they don't like the messiness of the emotion.

In grief, we are surrounded by others; we are alone, together, with one and other.

A thought.  A memory.  The smell of toast in the morning.  A wiff of a woman's perfume, all followed by a chain of thoughts that transport you from the here and now of the safety of the walls that you have built.  Your stomach drops.  A cold shroud falls, And you feel - whether you are alone, or surrounded by loved ones, that Grief has entered your life once again.

For me, it was the realization that the phone I was picking up would be unanswered when the connection would cause the phone in her house to ring, and echo through its emptiness.  You see I wanting to pick up the phone and call Mom and tell her about what I had just learned...and...I couldn't.

There is not a day that goes by when I don't think of her, or the ways that she was part of my life.  She was  my life, my rock, my anchor. Without her I have no connections to my past, no one who remembers what I remember.  I am adrift in this sea caused by Grief.

There are those who feel it their duty to cheer me up, or bring me back down to reality.  "Get back to your life" says one, while another wants to know if she can hug me and share a pot of tea.

I am pushed and I am pulled (all for the my own good, so I am told) by those who want just to help.  But all I want is a brief moment of normailty, and yet I an vexed that I no longer know what is normal, or what can ever be.

And that moment in which I reach for the phone and catch myself because I can't just call her, and that is the moment that Grief barges back into my life.

"Nevermind it's just me," it says as it swoopes down, without any regard to my feelings.  "Before long you'll have wished that I have gone, but I'll stay to remind you  each day that she cannot be reached, that your comforts are just that much more unsecure."  And I sigh. 

I look around to see what I know that is more haunted than me, that is Grief, and it is simply doing its it job.  And I realized that in mourning each morning, as I get up, I shower and prepare for the day when enevitably I will feel fine unto that scent of toast, a visual, the whiff of a ladies perfume invade my realm.  I will look for a mirror and see a face that is weary with the knowledge that grief becomes me.


  1. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I lost Toby 2 months and 6 days ago. Yes, he was a dog (see photo icon on your followers), and, yes, the Grief is unbearable at times. I have never mourned over a human being this way; I have never mourned anyone or anything this way. This is deep and constant and nothing will ever be the same again. I am no longer afraid of Death, believing Toby will be right there when I arrive. I dedicate the rest of my life to his memory. He saved my life twice (stories for another day), so I must not let that be in vain. He encouraged and loved me everyday, and, now, I am departing for the East in a few months to live a life I have worked so hard for. Toby, through his unconditional love and intense Spirit, has delivered my dreams to me, turning this grief into art. I understand (to a degree and many times removed, somewhat) the depth of your desolation.

    "The alchemy of a changing life is the only truth." Rumi

    Thank you for sharing your experience,

    Sean Thompson

  2. People who mean well are absolutely the hardest to bear. Everyone wants to help, but what, exactly, is it they can do to make it better? And you feel compelled to make THEM feel better because they've offered.