***DISCLAIMER/TRIGGER WARNING*** The “Grief Sucks” series is an ongoing response to my experience of a recent loss. As such, it may contain things that could serve as triggers for people who have also experienced loss. Finally, I respect that there are as many ways to grieve as there are people and I mean no offence to those who process grief differently than I do. Should you choose to stay and read, I ask only to be met with that same basic respect and understanding.
When you hear that a favourite artist, thinker, a beloved spiritual leader, or a public servant has passed away, you feel it. The year we lost Prince, David Bowie, George Michael and the many others that I don’t even want to think about comes to mind… I shed some tears, shared favourite songs and associated stories with my son.
The world seems different without those voices/lights/souls in it but if you believe, as I do, that creativity is an abundant – infinite – force, then you know that there will always be voices/lights/souls to share their creativity, their abundance. There will always be words we read, songs we hear, pictures and paintings and films we see that will speak to us about how we are not alone, not struggling alone, not feeling joy alone…
When a half-near relative or – perhaps – someone close to someone you are close to passes away, you also feel it. For me, someone who has an excess of mirror neurons and associated empathy, these losses ache more than the more “public” ones. This makes sense, as they are more personal. Closer to “home,” as they say.
I have, and have had, people in my life who I care about deeply who have lost so many people… Honoured when they trust me with their stories and grief, I do what I can to carry some of their pain for them. I have never been so arrogant to presume this burden-sharing is the same as losing someone close to me or that by taking what I can of that burden, I have ever truly understood it.
I also know that it’s what I think we’re here for…. To show up when someone is in pain and say, “What do you need? How can I help? Please, let me make this even a fraction lighter for you.” Clearly, we cannot do this for everyone all the time, but when we have the resources, I really do believe it is an essential part of being alive to care for others, carry for others, quietly rock-steady-like be there for others.
Now, when you lose someone close to you —
Here I cannot hide behind second or third person generalities I probably shouldn’t have been using in the first place.
Now that I have lost someone close to me the thing that strikes me the hardest is how unbelievably *WEIRD* it is.
My father is simply not here any more….
… it’s just so f–king weird…
And, I need to articulate that this weirdness is without judgement… What I mean is that I do not experience the weird as either “good” or “bad.”
It’s just weird.
If it has a shape, it is the emptiness inside all shapes.
If it has a texture, it is smooth – nothing sticks to it or grows from it.
If it has an energy, it is an ethereal, unnatural quiet.
There will be no more arguments that lead to dictionaries, or grumblings like “I’m hungry, when are we eating?” Followed almost immediately by: “There’s too much food.” There will be no more phone calls to check in on me and the kid because I haven’t lived nearby in over 15 years so he always called… Right up until he literally could not hold my phone number in his head anymore, he always called…
And, I know there are so many different ways to look at it… Spiritual, scientific (as if those things are ever really separate, but that’s another post altogether)… I know the energy that was him has not really left. I know that he literally lives in me, in my son – as DNA, as stories, and memories, and values, and connections.
But, I also know he’s just gone and there is no away around that, around the emptiness, the non-stick smoothness, the ethereal, unnatural quiet of it…
An it is just so, so, so weird.