Someone I cannot really call a “friend,” but whom I admire greatly, recently suffered a tragic loss in her life. She found herself scratching and clawing for even the basic functionality most days, as the cloud of pain grew exponentially before it started to recede. She posted on her blog about it, and after thinking back on some of the grieving I’ve done, I replied with this comment:
Grief is a nasty, sneaky motherfucker. It holds no schedule, can’t read a calendar, and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your time line of when you -should- feel “better.” (Whatever the hell “better” means.) It also hits you out of nowhere, at the most inopportune times, in the most inconvenient of places.
But somehow, after the initial onslaught, it does seem to ease back. The attacks become less frequent, and the force with which they’re thrown lacks the same level of gleeful enthusiasm. From what I’m told, that means you’re “moving on,” “getting better,” and oooh, the best one!…”getting over it.” I cannot tell you the depth of my loathing for that phrase. I will say, though, that for me, as the grief starts to look elsewhere for other victims, the sun appears a little brighter, the brilliant autumn colors are rich and layered again, instead of being infused with grey. You can listen to music without sobbing at a red light, and you can smile at stupid things without the mantle of guilt and sorrow that you’re still here to do it.
I read those words again now, and realize just how true they really are. There are things that can come back around, out of nowhere, and long after the grieving period is “done.” The scent of someone’s perfume in a store, a song you never thought you’d hear again, an old note that you could swear you threw away, and *poof* you’re right back where you were. It’s usually a transient thing; control comes back more easily as the time passes, and the mood can be almost invisible to the untrained eye.
We walk through this world on a tightrope, never knowing when a strong gust of wind will send us frantically grasping for the carabiners of our sanity. It’s at those times that we need our chosen families, our closest friends, and even the occasional kindness of a stranger. My most recent episode of grief deep enough that I questioned my ability to overcome it was about two years ago. And in that time, there were two people who were, above all others, instrumental in my survival. I have thanked them multiple times since then, but when those out-of-the-blue moments do occur, their words, their love, and their unbending strength and support return to me all over again to make sure that it passes quickly.
So even though they’ll never read this, I’m taking the time to express my gratitude to the Musician and the Trainer. You mean so, so much to me, and I hope I’ve been able to be there for you as much as you have been for me.