Grief is a word too broad to describe that which has become part of my daily existence.
At times grief sits with me, silent, as I process how loss has forever changed my life, my story.
At times grief wrestles with me and pummels me until I admit defeat and cower in fear until she leaves the room.
Some days she is there to remind me of favor and blessing. She sometimes slips in where I least expected her to remind me how very – lucky is not a strong enough word – lucky I am to have had something so wonderful, and it must have been quite wonderful to grieve it so strongly. Sometimes she holds my hand and won’t let me forget beautiful things.
Some days she writes in blood on the mirror, reminding me of my inadequacy. She leaves scrawled notes at my bedside documenting the times I didn’t call or the harsh words I said in anger. She points her finger in my face and accuses me of wasting the most beautiful relationship of my life and stares at me without flinching as I hang my head in shame.
Grief is a word too all-encompassing to describe the stretches of my life to which this loss has reached. Grief as a word seems to describe something present, but too often grief describes something absent. It is like trying to describe darkness or an unfillable emptiness.
Grief is the absence of those Sunday morning text messages that said, “Preach well, baby. I love you.”
It is the reaching silence where once there was a desperate plea at the end of an argument saying, “No one will ever love you like I do.”
It is turning the last page in the last chapter of a book learning in horror that the author didn’t wrap up the loose ends. It’s the memories you forgot to share of trying to emulate the way she put on makeup or kicked off her shoes. It’s being 30 and still feeling like the little girl on her lap on a Sunday night clasping plastic beads in your fingers.
Grief is the sinking understanding that no one can understand the weight you feel. Others may have felt different weights, even with similar stories, but no one else can remember the feel of those plastic beads or the way she sang to herself on Sunday mornings while she sprayed her hair.
Grief finds me when others share testimonies of healing. She finds me sometimes in the quiet and sometimes in the noise. Sometimes just a word or a song or a peripheral glimpse of someone who looks like her calls and grief always comes immediately.
She doesn’t always stay very long, but she certainly doesn’t leave when I want her to.
And I do believe my new friend grief will be around for the rest of my life. I am certain that she will walk down an aisle with me someday, and she will be at my side if I have children. She will put a hand on my shoulder someday when my friends complain to me about their aging mothers. She will slip her hand into mine when I am old and remember that most of my life will have been lived without my mother.
She is not a gracious friend but I do believe she will be constant. Always watching, always present, and only sometimes merciful.