7 MONTHS - WORK!
Updated: Sep 2
Did you know grief is work?
That's really interesting I think.
That to grieve takes your participation,
it doesn't just happen to you.
I guess, ostensibly, to do anything at all in great grief is to participate in it; open your eyes, think about getting up, and then, throw your legs over the side of the bed, sit up. Brew coffee. Drink some.
All that sure feels like work.
And it sure doesn't feel good!
"If you find what you love and do it,
You'll never work another day in your life"
Unless whom you love dies, suddenly, tragically.
Then, I think, from this 7-month vantage point, the rest of your life is only work.
To just survive that.
To outlive that.
Hard work to live.
Especially the next year or two ahead.
As everyone keeps telling me.
It’s so early! You’re only in month 7! Some people don’t get out of bed for the first 7 months!
Give yourself a couple years!”
A couple years??????
Give me a vacation right now, please.
I’m so tired.
Trying to live
with Andy’s death
Goes completely against
Every cell in my body,
Every instinct I have.
Just don't want to walk down this road,
this for-the-rest-of-my life road.
I don’t want to get to 2 years.
I don’t want to think about getting anywhere time-wise,
I don’t want to think about time in general.
Who would want to?
Even though, full disclosure - maybe you'll join me here?
There is this previous version of myself that actually used to envy trauma…
Wished that something really momentous had happened to me;
(never mind the dysfunctional momentous family trauma actually happening at the time - plentiful fodder for future therapy)
BIG PUBLIC TRAUMA.
My best friend Erica broke her arm on purpose when we were 8-
She lived next door
I had all the brothers,
She had all the fire;
She was the real tomboy.
She climbed up to the top of the big tree that divided our yards
The one that granted easy roof access, if you were daring enough;
And Erica, on purpose,
fell out of the tree!
Landing upon and thus breaking her arm.
she held out her cast to me proudly,
Tracing her fingers over all the curly-cued signatures
In pink and blue and red
she'd acquired at school that day.
Some had drawn pictures,
Wish I had the nerve to break my arm!
And also, dang!
Erica had already done it.
I was jealous.
I was looking for that trauma that
could give me
“Don't look for suffering, it will find you."
A boyfriend would tell me that later.
Erica got her period before me as well;
I didn't even know what was happening to me when I got mine.
I had six brothers before me, and a mom who enjoyed boys; I read
"Are you there God? It's me Margaret. " under the covers with a flashlight
And still couldn't figure it out.
A gut pain - below my stomach, a deep, deep ache;
My mom gave me a belt with clips to attach a pad to.
Like - wait. A belt?
For the rest of however long this comes???
This is weirdly similar at times, this wrenching from Andrew.
Maybe because it’s so inexplicable, and I feel disastrously unprepared -
For the wrenching pain.
It's gonna come for a long, unforeseeable time I’ve been promised - forever.
Only this is a wide belted shadow of pain just underneath
as my nervous system dies from starvation
It's a real physical phenomenon!
Your nervous system dies.
His death is
like a tea bag
steeping in my bones while I'm talking to you
Or am I the tea bag?
Only instead of me expressing the tea,
I'm being steeped in something and absorbing it…...............
This metaphor sucks.
I'm sorry, I can't make it work anymore.
The teabag- it felt right a minute ago.
Ah, well. I get to drop it then.
* * *
I do look quite a bit older.
No matter what anyone says.
"Mary you look so good!"
An actor at a gathering I’d gone to saw me and said that.
I know I’ve lost weight. I keep expecting it to come back on, but in some places, it’s just not. My shoulders, my face.
And to actors, losing weight
automatically means, you look good, I think?
He said, with a tone of light surprise,
“Mary! You look goooooood.”
I blinked back at him.
He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know. He couldn’t know.
If he did he wouldn’t have said it.
Should I tell him?
I just said,
authentically, it was a truthful response, I did mean it,
I’ve also heard recently
“Mary, you look exactly the same as twenty years ago!"
That’s - that’s simply not true.
I do not.
I could not.
I ought not.
I DO NOT.
(And neither do you.)
And why should I?
Look like someone who before thought a great tragedy would be good for me?
Make me more valuable?
Is it even possible to become more human?
Capable of deeper understanding?
I understand less now than I thought I did before.
is what it is.
It's not good for Abadi to have lost his dad. ok?
IT JUST ISN’T.
and by let us, I mean my self and me-
Let's face it,
Let me face it,
Will never be as good;
It will be different.
And I will learn to keep my own company
To talk to my dog out loud
To cry at my kid’s joy on July 4th, running with sparklers in our big, big yard
As if his father hadn’t left his world forever, never to laugh and dance with him,
buy the fireworks ever again
As if his dad hadn't bought the very sparklers we were lighting….
That is a good definition of grief.
GRIEF-a great digression.
Get to work digressing.
Make a belt with clips to absorb the pain, attach it.