I thought it would be rainstorms. Thunder crashes, lightening, branches ripped from their sockets and flung across power lines. Chaos. Devastation.
I thought it would be a vacuous hole in the center of my heart I could (and would) pour my whole self into, along with everything and everyone else and never ever fill.
I thought it would be a fight to the death; gripping sanity with clenched teeth and white knuckle finger tips as screaming dark shapes wrap themselves around every limb and try to drag me away.
I thought it would be impossibly heavy; a paralysis through which eyes stare wide, hour after hour, at walls, at ceilings,
out windows, seeing nothing, hating everything. The background noise of people coming and going “What can we do?” “What can we do?” And a foreground of the most cacophonous ear piercing SILENCE…
… you could ever imagine.
I thought it would be giant ice caps. I thought it would be raging forest fires. Either way, I thought it would burn. I thought it would set my skin on fire and freeze my heart solid, black. I thought that my thoughts would be snakes, my words daggers; and on a good day I’d be medusa in reverse, turning to stone when anyone looked my way.
* * *
So far, my grief has not yet been quite what I thought. I’ve had moments of each, and I am always expecting more around every corner, hiding in trees, in kitchen cabinets, clinging to the inside of the shower head, outside of every window frame, waiting for the perfect moment to attack.
But for the most part, my grief has been a lifted veil. Everything looks different and I find myself pausing often to see the strangeness of things. Many of the ways I was spending my time and filling my mind, all seem slightly foreign, like another person’s life. My stories feel more like stories. I used to have one about being my dad’s daughter. It’s gone. So the rest are called into question. Who am I? I keep asking. Who am I? Once, I broke down in the shower, not sure whose hair I was washing, whose body this was. Who am I? Who amI!?
My relationships feel different. T
hose who carried me through the loss are inside me somehow, holding my heart and keeping me safe. Gratitude is not an option anymore. I breathe it, like air. I feel like I was pulled through a gateway somehow and those who weren’t there didn’t come with me. Strangers.
My grief is so, so, delicate. The day he died I felt like an armor i didn’t even know i had, had been blasted away and I was reborn into the world, tender and fragile on the outside, but with a new kind of inner strength. I feel something so precious inside me now, I want only to curl up and protect it; not against the world, but for it.