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 I wrote several years ago now. Grief changes. I don’t always appreciate that. Sometimes, change is just change further away from the life we lived.
I feel a million miles away, and I do not like where I am. Like our life never happened, I repeat it as though it’s a fiction. I read things I wrote in those first months and feel nothing, until I do.
And then it is a freight train.
This happened to me.
I close up the garden I started that year Before. I touch soil I turned when he was here, when life was what it Was. I don’t want this garden anymore – like so many things, it has stopped being fun. It has stopped being good. And to leave it feels strange, letting go of one other home, one other place in my life that was life. To let go of what was ordinary and normal, knowing it no longer fits.
Watching election season via facebook has shown me a lot of things that no longer fit. That I no longer want to find a place to fit. Tangential friendships ended, not simply because their political views are vastly different than mine, but because I see how their political views are used as a weapon of hate.
Ending friendships even when our political views are the same, because I see the same seething hatred underneath their emphatic shouting about love. I don’t want these lies in my life. The vast gulf between what you actually live and what you shout about. Ugliness is ugliness, no matter what ideals you’re voting for.
Four years ago, this whole life was different. The poll lines were a party. Matt brought me a thermos of tea, and we all hung out in the parking lot, waiting our turn to go vote. There was hope and fun and silliness. We were one big neighborhood. At home, we stayed up late to watch the election results.
We watched and listened and heard. It was good.
This year, I talk out loud to you, inside the polling booth. And then I remember that other people can hear me, standing just behind the canvas flaps.
I stand there muttering and weeping that you should be here with me. Goofing around as we did the last time we voted – just a week or two Before. We voted for a friend of yours, running in a local election for who-knows-what.
After we voted, we walked through the park, naming all the trees we could name.
All of this I brought with me into that little canvas booth, filling in ovals, talking out loud, wishing you were there.
There was no party in the parking lot. There was no sense of one big happy neighborhood.
There was only me, in the car, parked and texting someone else about the difference between four years ago and now.
How about you? Tell us a story of something that’s changed. I’d love to hear from you.