Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.–William Faulkner
As is my nature, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of grief while grieving. For
the past year since my Mom passed the past three years in the wake of both of my parent’s deaths, I have lived a million distinct deaths–some catastrophic and paralyzing me in my bed, some miniscule and annoying like a fly at night in the heat of West Virginia.
grief Grief is there, a companion in my life–more than a stage or an emotion. Sometimes he sits on my chest and tells me a story, removing my capacity to inhale and exhale to the back of my lungs. Sometimes he hovers in the shadows of the night, gently nodding so I don’t forget his perpetuity. Sometimes he sits quietly in the car with me and stares out the window, as I travel about and try to evict him through busyness and productivity. Sometimes he walks around the corner, surprising me through a similar image reminiscent of my parent’s earthly lives. As Ruth Stone writes in “Loss,” “Whenever I turned / I saw [his] eyes looking out of the eyes of strangers.”
This weekend, Grief will no longer be a separate entity wandering around with me; I will see him staring back at me, not as I look in the eyes of strangers, but as I look in the mirror. We will marry under the trees that are standing guard above my Mom’s family’s cemetery on “Hump Mountain”, to the tune of the cardinal’s call and my family’s tears, our hearts aching with the love of the lost. I cannot hide from him any longer, or politely walk out of the room, for by honoring my Mom’s wishes for her ashes, this weekend will solidify that she is gone… utterly and truly and devastatingly gone.
Let there be “rain, heartbeats of rain,” as Dean Young said in “White Crane.”