Sunday, March 1, 2015

Grief That Deep

I have a friend who is grieving the loss of her husband. It’s not quite been a year. Some people think she “should be over it” by now. Others understand. They understand because they, too, have lost someone close. My dad passed away twenty-one years ago. Cancer took him down. Took him down fast. What began as a brain tumor ended as a ticket to the other side. Some days I feel cheated and want so badly for him to come back into my life. I was thirty when he died. Do we ever truly let go, or do we simply learn to push aside? There is, after all, this business of living to which we must attend.

There is spaghetti in the pot, laundry in the wash. The kids need rides to class. The dog has a two o’clock with the vet. Lecture tomorrow happens whether I prep or whether I don’t. And the groceries aren’t going to unpack themselves. We must do these things no matter how surreal or daunting they may seem. We do them because they bring normalcy to our days, and because they must be done.

I would posit, too, that a loss need not be the ending of a life in order to shake your world. Have you ever lost a friend?

Three years ago, someone with whom I had struck up a connection left my life. He’s not dead. He’s simply gone. But, then again, how would I know? It’s been three years. If I am to be honest, I was a mess. I was a mess for longer than I care to admit. Then, one day, I wasn’t. I had come to a point where I had accepted the loss and was ready to move on. I had donned my big girl underpants and was marching forward through my life. Until today. I was reminded of this friend in conversation today, a simple comment by another. Too many shits and fucks escaped my mouth. I drank a little. I cursed and cried. Yes. Alright. I cried. I miss the friendship. I miss it a lot. This friend brought richness to my life.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? We are only grieved if we’ve mattered. Whether we die or whether we purposely choose to leave someone’s life. I want to matter. I want someone to grieve over me because I’ve made a difference in a life. When I go, whatever that looks like, I don’t want a simple sniffle or an easy consoling with an, “Oh, honey, you need to move on.” No. I want to rip someone’s world apart. I want grieving THAT deep.

Why else are we here? Why are we here if not to immerse ourselves in the lives of others, if not to love and care and cry, if not to contribute in ways that would never have happened had we never crossed their paths? Why else are we here?

I remember the procession from the funeral to the gravesite. My father had a lot of friends. He knew many people. The line of cars was long. It was longer than I could see from the rearview. It stretched, and it stretched. He wasn’t perfect. By far. But he had a charisma, a charm, a kind way about him. He knew how to make a person smile. He made a difference. He made a difference in many lives.

My friend who is grieving is nowhere close to being done. She lost her life partner, her soul mate. I am not speaking here of some cheesy, soul mate wannabe, the kind one reads about on Valentine’s cards. I am speaking of the word in the true spiritual essence of what it means. She and her husband were connected by a bond so deep that had they not been married they still would have merged as completely as they had. When this kind of person walks out of your life, you do not simply get over it. You mourn. You are beside yourself. You are lost and angry and alone. And you realize that the person who would have consoled you, who would have put an arm around you and allowed you space to cry and curse and release all of your inner demons, the person who would have comforted you best is the very person you will never see again.

We are only grieved if we’ve mattered. How rich a thing to contribute so deeply to a life.