Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
This week, a post from 2012.
In bed by 7 last night, awake at my usual 5, but lounged there instead of getting up. It helped. It’s been so hard here lately, different shades of hard, but all of them the same. Irritation. Short-temper.
Rage is exhausting. A full night’s sleep actually helped.
It’s not just the sleep that eased me a little. It was – oddly or not – sitting there in bed reliving that day. Putting myself back there.
How beautiful the sky was. How much we loved, and needed, that place. I looked at dog-wash island. I saw us there on other trips, soaping boris up, tossing the ball out into the water so he could be rinsed off.
I saw us there on our last trip, you trying to hold on to the top of a tree, yelling out, letting go.
You died just off of dog-wash island, trying to hold on to a tree, yelling out, disappearing. Oh my god.
And in that oh my god I felt such fierce tenderness and love for myself. How hard this is, how lonely, how scary and how sad. How hard this is. Hard.
And I think, this morning, how feeling this takes me to the same place that rage does: a refusal to do things I do not want to do, unwillingness to suffer through annoying situations, a desire to do whatever brings me any goodness at all, and fighting for it if need be. Rage usually drives that train. Irritation has me kicking at any constraint in this life, any arbitrary use of my time, every shallow interchange.
Seeing our last day, reliving it, brought out something else. Stupid things, wasteful things – in this moment, anyway, I want to kick them over not because I hate the world, but because I love me.
Because you died just off of dog-wash island on a beautiful sunny day in July. Because I couldn’t stop it, even when I ran into the water and fought those currents myself.
Because of all the things I had to do, all the phone calls, all the “arrangements,” all of everything.
I will not have this life squandered and wasted on stupid things. Because of what I lived. Because of me.
It is so much nicer on me to feel tenderness rather than rage. I think this is the goal for me, the direction to lean – not that life can be good, or that life can be anything, but finding ways to access, maybe even eventually sustain, this tenderness.
To live a fierceness for myself that isn’t so much the raging Kali stomping out the world.
How about you? Have you developed a short fuse in your grief? How is tenderness-for-self showing up in this post-death life? Let us know in the comments, or send me an email.