versions of the truth

Layered Grief

The stages of my grief have been layered and surprising. I am still struck by the sense of absence that is so quickly swallowed up by the space around me as if the absence doesn’t exist even though I feel it within me still. What is it about the day to day of existence that makes it possible for both of these things to be true?

2019 brought so much pain into my personal world which says nothing of the broader space of existence that has also been tumultuous on the best of days but these things are truly unrelated to the things which brought grief to my small space of existence. My personal grieving was over deaths which were brought by the slow crawl of disease and could, of course, be linked to broader societal problems which if not present may have translated to higher quality of life and more years to be lived. However, the thing that caused the grief was not the timing but rather the underlined fact that such important individuals in my life would not outlive me so that I would not have to experience the loss of them.

I fought in myself this primal need and longing to upend the laws of existence in order to have back what I had lost. This, more than anything else, shocked me. It was such a visceral need and also so irrational that I could see how this feeling could, if seen to its conclusion, become a force for something extreme in the world. Rather than feeding that creature I sought something else. I sought silence and stillness. Although the outer world was still spinning and there was much to be done I determined that my world as I had known it was over and instead of engaging in the false cure of busy-ness I sought its opposite. There wasn’t much wallowing. I had expected that silence and stillness would allow me to wallow in my sorrow but that wasn’t the case.

Something about loss can be transcendent. I think it comes in the form of recognizing that what has been lost is tangible even as its absence is subsumed by the ever moving time and space around us. The thing which was lost was real, present and remains so in ways that are immeasurable. Our lives are layered upon us. We carry the weight of all those moments that are now past and don’t seem real except as we feel them within us. I decided not to deny the physical realness of the parts of me that were intangible because they were fragments of the past as thereby are thought to be in another space.

Being able to be still and silent allowed the layers to settle into me. I could make room for the memories within me. I could acknowledge their place and file them away instead of leaving them strewn all around within me ready to trip me up as I tried to rush forward to keep actively working for the promised future.

I’m not entirely sure how I will be using this blog in the future. It has fallen so far down on my list of priorities as I have tried to make sense of this year. But, I enjoy writing here and hope to revive it in 2020.

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