My grandmother was a tiny force of a woman. When she died, she was so light. They say moments live on in your bones, like words layered brick by brick. You're a skeletal foundation of stories and your knees are muddy. I cried at her funeral and the sound of death broke on my skin, falling like rain.
I started this post, "Grief is..." and couldn't find words. I laughed at first, but it's hard. A sad little knot in your stomach. It's hard when something you do doesn't come easy. It's hard when one of your things, your way to process and pull apart life and say, it's still good, still beautiful, feels foreign. Like realizing you're speaking gibberish and you thought it's a language. Unsure. Hesitant. Tasting out words on my tongue and trying to remember if they're the same. I'm reading what I write and telling myself I can't delete the words. That to put something out there, anything, is better than nothing. That the first step to get through is to dive deep.
It's messy. I say that about everything. But life's messy. It's gory. It's gritty. It's unpredictable, in a laugh so hard tears come out your eyes and ache so hard you stay up all night weeping way. I read something on weeping the other day and it hit me right in the face. One of those pieces where you breathe a little deeper and shift in your skin. Because someone tapped into a raw place and pulled out something still beating. Someone put words to it, like touching a frosted glass with cold fingertips. Brushed the edge of something.
Weeping is not the same thing as crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up. - Sarah Ockler
I had chills when the word weeping caught my eye and I was crying at the end. Maybe that sounds silly. But to be walking through long and lonely moments only to turn and find someone next to you, saying, I get it. That's a relief. That's what's so delightfully, deliciously, dearly human about us. That we're not alone.
Grief is a funny thing. It's unnerving, unsettling. I start to write a sentence and stop. Everything is heavy. There's a weight we carry, unconsciously. Grief clings to our back with cold fingers and we hunch over to compensate. Curl up, close in. I need to apologize more, because I'm so damned shaky. I'm sorry, I just feel so unsettled. I've said it more than I can count to someone. I'm sorry, I feel so uprooted.
The irony of feeling uprooted when my 2014 word is seed isn't lost on me. What I'm trying to say is. I'm sorry that it takes me so long to reply. I'm sorry that I cry about stupid things. I'm sorry that I ask you what you think twice. I'm sorry that I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, especially now with that last sentence. I'm sorry I snapped at you.
It's just. I'm so tired. Of waiting and hoping. The hoping is what hurts the most. It's like carrying hot coals close to your chest because just a little further on, there's wood. That's what you believe, anyways. It's coming. But the journey, staggering forward and faltering steps...it's numbing. It's exhausting.
I feel sapped. I feel heavy. I feel unhinged, in a quiet, curl up with my cat and cry it out way. I gain weight. I cut my hair. I'm tired of writing when everything feels old. November is turning me into a hermit. I want to throw off the stale scent of indoors and last year and scrub everything clean. I want to strip back to the foundation and rebuild with good wood.
I'm waiting for this earth to unthaw enough to plant something new. I don't know. I don't know. My hands are shaking and my head is spinning and all I can think is, the days are lengthening. I make my coffee in the morning. I say yes to green tea. I'm practicing being kind to myself.
Sometimes, it's enough. Right now, it's enough. Grief is. And maybe it's not grief anymore. It feels different, not quite so raw. Maybe the swelling has gone down and it's a sad, slow sorrow. Maybe it's an undercurrent, not the whole melody. The days are lengthening. Thank God it's not the end.