I wrote this one last week, I’m fine today.
Pardon me friends, while I lean over this canyon and shake my head a little to empty it.
But her death nonetheless seemed like the wrong outcome—an instant that could have gone differently, a story that could have unfolded otherwise. If I could find the right turning point in the narrative, then maybe, like Orpheus, I could bring the one I sought back from the dead. Aha: Here she is, walking behind me.
Story’s End: writing a mother’s death (Meghan O’Rourke)
All that beseeching … gods, doctors, the universe, crystals, science … it doesn’t work. Obviously it doesn’t. (Please don’t let pso called psychics prey on you.) You bargain, you offer everything you have, including your life. (They’re just cold reading you.) You can’t gamble when there are no dice.
(It’s pouring with rain now, in the lonely early hours. It’s been thundering and raining for two days, which in this corner of the world, is a very good thing indeed for the brackish water table and a very bad thing for the majority of the population, who live in jerry built shacks that leak and flood. It was raining gently this morning and I took my dog and my middle class ass for an energetic walk on the beach. Up along the toes of the tall sand dunes to beachcomb and back along the subtidal zone to be close to the sea and find out what fish and seaweed and bluebottles and jellyfish may have been tossed ashore. Halfway back, grief slammed into me like Mjölnir as usual, and I sort of staggered along unseeing and shouting and crying for a bit. Mhm I did my crying in the goddamn rain.)
Perhaps I have a grief loop – a Möbius strip grief loop. Grief hits, then rage, then despair, then sad sad sadness and then, as Matt Johnson sang* “the whole goddamn thing starts all over again.” Did you make Möbius strips at school? A strip of paper, a little twist, a little glue and then absolute delight at the whole thing. Remember? At some point it gets lost or worn and torn; at some point perhaps my loop will be linear.
La la la la life goes on. (Fuck you, Beatles.)
I guess at some point, with any sort of trauma, you’ve got to take your heart and your lungs in your hands, sigh (because sighs matter) and put them safely into your favourite pocket, then keep moving forwards. Rage becomes anger and fades into despair, sadness shifts on silent feet and doesn’t shout anymore. At some point, despair might walk quietly away and then sadness takes your hand and you both walk until you’re tired enough for dreamless sleep. What is the difference between resignation and healing? As Gandalf said to Frodo, “There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.” That was from the books – the next quote is from the film and is all poignant and stuff and maybe you’ll prefer it.
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back. There are some things that time can not mend. Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.” (Frodo to Gandalf)
You find meaning in your life, or you don’t. You bandage your wounds or watch them bleed. You can’t do any of it without love, whether it’s a song or a heartbreak. Maybe you find yourself sitting with your head in your hands and unshed tears throttling you and jaws that haven’t unclenched in years. Maybe you find your god, maybe you start a foundation, maybe you don’t do a thing. Maybe your life crumbles around you and you lose interest. I don’t. Fucking. Know. Things that feel the least like choices might be the hardest and most important choices you** ever make.
Some people will understand and some will not and suddenly it really matters.
It’s daylight now and still raining hard; last night was horrible, on the whole. It turned into such a strange, featureless landscape, cowering under thunder clouds and roaring at the rain. I used my last sleeping pill and it may as well have been an aspirin. I slept for a few hours during the morning, I sat and stared stupidly, I did a few chores, I talked to some friends.
I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin. (Leonard Cohen)
This is not one grief, one thing. I’m writing it out to empty my veins as well as my head, there’s a damn grief traffic jam in there and I am afraid of a gridlock. I wish I believed in something. I wonder if I’m a few milligrams lighter now.
* True Love This Way Lies – the The
** I keep saying you when I really mean me.