Grief Anniversary

Grief Anniversary - E.B. Wexler

“anniversary” implies that I do not have grief the other 364 days
I do.
But as the date approaches
I feel, slowly arising
The original grief
The breath sucked out of me when I got the news over the phone.
The early grief
Walking around in a daze, wondering where she went
How things would be now

She was 31
She was my “person”
And it was out of the blue.
I have not been the same since. And I don’t want to be….

what you don’t know is that my life will never be the same
what you don’t know is that if or when this happens to you, yours won’t either
what you don’t know, until it happens to you, is how it feels
what you don’t know is that I can’t TELL you how it feels
I can say a million words, but they won’t begin to convey it
what you don’t know is that all of the losses touch each other
suffering a loss today can bring up a loss from decades ago
and it feels real
it feels current
it’s one big steaming pot of loss
what you don’t know is that it’s always present for me

so for those of you
who would never bring it up
and then later say, when I finally do
“I was going to say something but I didn’t want you to get upset”
you mentioning it doesn’t make me upset
it’s not like until you brought it up….I forgot about that piece of me I’ll never have again
for anyone who says
“you need to stop thinking about it. It’s making you sad.
I am ALREADY sad.
And by the way…
What’s wrong with sad?

what you don’t know
is that asking
is the best thing you can do
but what you don’t know
is that if you don’t ask, it is probably because you’re scared to ask
because the answer is too scary for you
maybe because it hasn’t happened to you

what you don’t know is that if or when it happens to you
and someone finally asks you about it
you are going to want to kiss them full on the mouth
collapse into their arms
what you don’t know is that the gratitude you feel
towards people who ask
who can witness your pain
is almost as bottomless as the grief itself

what you don’t know
is that the platitudes
not only don’t help
they make me angry
at you.
“I know she wouldn’t want you to be sad”
to start with, you never met her.
And…..do you know one of the many reasons I miss her so much?
because if this had happened with someone else
if she was still here to comfort me
she would say:
“don’t listen to them, Bets.  You ARE sad.  “she” would want you to be wherever you are.
trust the process.”

what you don’t know
is that the one person who could best see and love and comfort me through tough times
see me when I couldn’t see myself
is the one for whom I’m grieving.
double whammy.
I need to talk to HER about losing HER.
I need to cry to her about losing my best friend
My “person”.
part of my insides
the one who not only understood everything I didn’t get before–
but who GAVE it to me herself.

what does not show
is the searing pain I have deep deep inside
so deep that sometimes I don’t even see it
what does not show
is the part of my heart that feels all carved out
like an avacado
scraped to the very skin
that sound of the metal spoon hitting the inside of the rough peel
there is no more

what does not show
is the anger I feel every time someone fails to see my losses
fails to see ME
what does not show
is the picture in my head of me smacking you
when you say something like
“she’d want you to move on.”
(once again, only from people who never met her.
how can you speak for her?)

move on…..from what?
where have I stopped?

what does not show
is the movement of my feelings
moving all the time
up and down, side to side, waxing and waning
all in service of being present
not better. Present. To whatever shows up.

because all you see is pain
and you want it to go away.
what does not show
is the tidal wave of grief that comes on her death date
or her birthday
or when something reminds me of her in a way that feels like a punch in the gut
in a way that causes my body to remember both that she is gone
but also that she was here.
How much I loved her.

what does not show
are the tiny shards of my heart
that I’ve been picking up and picking out of crevices
putting in a bag
little tiny pieces
trying not to step on them or vacuum them up
they seem infinite
and I can’t ever put them back together the way they were
what does not show

is the brokenness of my heart.

No comments: