I describe my grief this way "It is dynamic and moves forward in the ripples and eddies of a stream even as I stand in place." Accurate when I wrote it and it remains so. I think.
There we go with an action verb, think. How much action is there going on thinking about my grief? Grief is there the action around thinking about it is the response we have to the memories and world around us.
My dissonance is that my grief passes through me, over me, and around me as I stand in place. The grief is active and I am not. Some days the waters hardly flows and goes unnoticed. Others days I nearly fall into the rapids from the power of the grief. I continue to stand in this grief stream waiting for it to ebb. That does not mean passive. I am actively engaging with my grief while standing in place.
Anniversary, birthdays, funerals, etc. will set up the rip current of sadness and worse. The interstitial periods between those grief markers become a state of hyper awareness. Closer to the time of Donna's death my senses darted about looking for the next emotional tsunami so I could brace for impact. Further from that date and with more grief knowledge in my quiver I am less hyper aware and more just aware.
I miss Donna. I miss the love I gave. I miss the love I received. I long to once again be loved into being. These emotions are paper cuts today not yesterdays lacerations. In all fairness even today they can bleed freely. Why have I not moved up or down stream? Why am I not sitting on the bank under a willow tree tossing pebbles into the water?
Below is the opening to a short story I am working on. It explains better the point I want to make. Give it a read.
Jarring dreams or the bright Sun shook him from sleep most days. Some days it was just unconditional surrender to the day. Checking the time on the clock on was useless. The time was always the same. Besides there was nothing to accomplish today or any day why look. Duvet swung left feet pulled to the right planted on the floor. 38 steps to the kitchen committed to memory. That is the repetitive genesis for each day.
It was a loft in a condo and only 1,900 square feet. The 38 steps were not far or difficult. Age 71 and the ever-present slip and broken hip made it difficult in his mind the smoothed and darkened hardwood floors did not help.
38 steps in the dark half the year, muted morning light the other half. Feeling for the light switch on the wall and softly illuminating the dinning room table. Never fumbling to find it yet struggling to wonder why it mattered. Mark knew where everything was dark or not. He flipped the switch on the espresso machine listening for the rumble to life breaking the morning silence.
Six years ago the alarm was silenced. It was just the Sun and harsh memories invading the early morning. The 38 steps became interminable and lonely. He still wanted to reach for the stainless steel pitcher ready to froth milk for Donna’s latte. Go sit in the living room waiting for it to reach temp and reading his phone.
The Here and Now
This is where I am at now. I'm less grief paralyzed and more life paralyzed. Age related issues occupy my waking hours. Add to that no meaning and purpose (think career), the friend zone is postage stamp size (it seems), the book makes me sad because I have not won a Pulitzer Prize, and finding love again organically is a fucking joke. I know am more capable and able to love and be loved then ever before because I fucking get it even more.
The title 'Is My Grief My Crutch?' can be answered yes. Going through and living with the abject grief I experienced with Donna's illness and death shaped my life and emotions profoundly. I learned more about Donna, myself, love, life, etc. with grief as my dance partner. My preference? I never wanted this but, I have used what I learned and continue to learn to grow. Yet the ravages of grief fueled by Donna's death have placed me in a less than pollyanna state. Grief is the wet unshaped mass I have before me. I want to be the sculptor who fashions art and life from the raw clay of loss not have it shape me.