Death does not scare me, neither does it please me. In fact, it keeps me in my toes, ensuring I have little regrets and love as much as I can in the short time dedicated to us in this world. Whatever comes after is to be found, I want to reserve no plans for then. Luckily, I am yet to deal with too much grief.
I have struggled to write today. Because I wanted to avoid what I wanted to write about. But I know that is just not me. And I wanted to write about grief. And writing is as much for you to grow as also for me to learn about myself and grow. So I have written.
Grief is something so private that I think it is better left in there, in the dark, not living the light of day. But at the same time, as one of the most difficult emotions to live with, it is one I know I ought to not stay away from as I focus my path on growth.
Sometimes I wondered if I could feel grief. Even though it does not scare me, it overwhelms me to think of the moment those we love the most will not be here. Or that those I love the most will be here without me. I make it a distant inevitable thought and trust that I will live a long life, as long as possible to love and be loved, miss and be missed. Yes, I know I want to be missed. It scares me not to. Isn’t that part of the human condition, to perpetuate itself so that those that come after us can miss us and carry us forward?
Grief for those we love
It is rare to find someone who does not struggle with the suffering of those close to them. I am no different. In the last few years, there has been grief close to us and in those I love and it touched me deeply. But also, as the one expected to be strong and “distant”, I had limited space for grief. I have allowed it space, I have supported time passing and empty silences. But all in all, I had no grief. It almost felt cold-hearted. However, I did not see how it could be any other way. In those times that Hubby B was hurting, my choice was not to.
I still wondered
Even though I faced it as a choice, I still wondered about my capacity to feel any different. The first person I remember losing was by great-grandma, after whom I was half named. She was like a grandma to us, her face still vivid in my memory as I write these words. It was a village loss. Everyone knew her. As I saw my cousins and aunt suffering so much I was sad. But I can’t tell if I was sad about her loss or about them being so distraught. Reality was I did not know what life would mean without her. And I did miss her. But I was a child. I just did not think much of it.
I lost my grandfather when I was in my late teens or early twenties. See, I don’t even remember. I loved him so deeply. For reasons that only families understand, we were no longer in close contact. But I did manage to find him and say goodbye not long before he departed. He meant enough to me that I broke into “his” house and stayed by his bedside. So when he passed away, my grief had almost already passed. I had accepted that he was gone from our lives by then. But yet again I wondered, why did I not suffer as much as I saw in the movies.
And then my grandmother passed away a few years ago. Again, for more reasons that families have and decide to pass to the next generation, we were already apart for a while. My mum tried to keep as close as she could. I was living in London already. And I remember getting the call. But yet again as sad as I was all I could think of was my mum. So is that grief? Do you transform all feelings in the grief of those that are meant to be the most affected. She was my grandmother and I grew up close to her. Surely I must have felt loss. Again, because she had chosen to be apart, she had spent 10 years removing herself from our lives. By the time she really departed, she was already not there. That was my sketchy justification yet again.
But Sara, do you feel no grief?
The day I felt grief
Yesterday was the day I felt grief. It was physical pain, I felt sick and barely able to breathe. And no, it did not happen yesterday. It happened in 2012. Talk about delay.
His name was Michael and I loved him deeply since I can remember. He was indeed very lovable, despite being a trouble maker. Yet again, he had moved away from us for the last 10 years, most likely to stay away with his trouble making way of life and troubled choices. I only found out of his passing almost 2 years after. It was a shock but yet again I felt no real loss. He had not been there for more than 10 years. And I felt sick not to feel loss, as he was such a significant part of my life. I remembered the horses. I remembered the fur toys. I remember the old Betamax movie at the beach.
And yesterday, benefits of social media, google and some weird hint of the mind I found out everything about his death and about those that he left behind. And it hit me deeply. I could not breathe to think of it. And I felt loss.
After all, I am capable of feeling it. That’s a relief in a way.
The day after
Everyone that has grief has a day after. The day you know that the sun will rise and set the same way as it has every day. The day you know that school, work or whatever you do continues and does not wait for a transition. Those you love are just gone, and you are meant to continue and to re-invent your life to accommodate for it.
This weekend, I met again a wife who has met extreme grief. I was at first overwhelmed but then relieved by her grief. Yes, she grieved, but she did it in a way that kept her husband close to heart and mind, but not in the way of her life and that of her children. She allowed grief to be there, not as a negative, but rather as a heart-warming memory. And I embraced that learning.
She showed me how grief is real. But also how it can heel. It is the story of humanity.