Grief, my new constant companion, has moved in. I thought I’d take a good look at him since we’re spending so much time together now. And I’ve realized a few things. Grief is not sadness. I get sad when I break a nail, or when the shoe I want is not available in my size. I get sad when someone calls my son a wimp. But this feels different. Grief is so much more complex.
When we lose someone, there’s a sudden, jarring, almost violent realization that life is very different. At 11:00, you’re minding your own business. At 11:01, you blink, and all of a sudden, every thing and every moment is different. Am I sounding dramatic? Perhaps, but I think I’m right.
When you lose someone, you suddenly realize how this person bookended your days–you wake to him with a Good Morning, and you close your eyes and thoughts to him at the end of the day with a Good Night. In the moments in between, you share mundane thoughts and events. You share dreams and goals and successes. You share your fears and failures. You share meals. You share coffee.
At 11:01, you turn to tell him something, to share something with him, and suddenly there’s no one there. There’s no one there to take your thought, to take your frustration, to take your coffee, to take your hand.
When you share your moments and your life with someone, he permeates your very being. How you think, what you’re thinking. Oh, he would love this sweater, it’s a blend. Oh we have to try that new restaurant. How would he respond to this issue, he’s so gracious and has a better way with words.
Grief is so difficult and overwhelming because it’s not just the loss of one person in your life, one relationship in your life, one thing. It’s the daily, minute by minute reminders of this loss. Every moment every day I am reminded of this loss. I am forced to grieve every minute of every day. Each time I reflexively turn to tell him something. Each time I think of how to respond to someone more graciously. I am forced to say good-bye every. single. minute. of. every. single. day. I feel so untethered without my bookends. And I feel so lost with what feels like only half of each minute in between. I am drowning under the weight of each of these minutes.
He taught me to be a better person in every way. So when I make decisions now, when I think things through, I am reminded of him because he is so much a part of who I am now. And these constant reminders have turned into continual good-byes to him. This is grief.
And I realize how fragile everything in life is, and how comfort begets taking something or someone for granted. I took great comfort in the crook of his arm. In his unconditional support and belief in me. In his random thoughts that were so quirky. In knowing every time I reached out, he would respond–every text, every call, every email, every question, every proclamation. I loved to fall into all of those and wrap myself up in the comfort of everything he was to me. I found great joy in that. And I got used to it. And suddenly, at 11:01, I find myself with nothing to wrap around me. And I am cold.
Yes, I am well aware time will turn grief into a dull sadness, when enough days of 11:01 turn into 11:02 and I am still here. But I will always remember he loves his sweaters as blends.