I did not choose grief. Grief was thrust on me. To be honest, I never expected to grieve. My life mate/soul mate had been sick for so long I thought I was used to the idea of continuing life alone. I thought we’d untwinned our lives and had set out on separate journeys, him to death, me to continued life. His death, however, opened a hole in the universe and the cold breath of eternity has seeped into my soul. I don’t know if the hole can ever be patched. I don’t know if I want it to be. I for sure don’t want to push thoughts of him out of my mind. Such thoughts, though they still bring sadness, help bridge the gap between his presence and his absence. (Absence is such a mild term to describe the unfathomable “goneness” of someone who is dead.)
I’ve come to view grief as a gift. Not many people agree with that, but for me, it is very much of a bequest, the last present he ever gave me. I’ve always been a truth-seeker, always wanted to see what was beyond the veil of everyday reality. (If you’ve read any of my books, you can see the pattern. Each of my novels seeks to reveal the lies that hold our culture together, from so-called conspiracy theories to biological warfare, from human experimentation to old time gangsters. Despite the disparate stories and themes, they are all united by my need for the truth.)
This hole that grief has opened, both into the universe and into the human psyche, might bring me to the truth I seek. And even if it doesn’t take me where I want/need to go, it’s still a gift. Not many people are privileged to find their cosmic twin, to be connected to another human, soul to soul, as we were, and grief is the price I have to pay. Sometimes the price seems too high and I’d like to fling the gift back where it came from, but other times, it almost makes sense, as if the universe is unfolding the way it should be.
From the beginning, even when the pain of his absence made it almost impossible to breathe, I’ve trusted my grief to guide me through the days, weeks, months. Despite the insanity of the feelings grief creates, I knew I was sane and well adjusted, and so I felt free to follow the wild and agonizing ride. I’ve learned much these past twenty months on how to survive, how to find sense in the senselessness, how to find peace within the sadness. I’ve found courage, patience, compassion, and a strength I didn’t know I had. I still don’t know where I am going — I can’t see the end of the road. For all I know, there might not be an end. The journey could be all there is.
My talk of grief gives people the wrong impression. I’m not sure that what I am feeling right now is strictly grief, at least not the way most people think of grief. But it’s not “not grief” either since I do still have upsurges of tears and sadness and loneliness. Most of the time I’m just . . . me. In fact, since I stopped watching the movies and television shows he taped for us, which caused horrendous upsurges in grief since we’d always watched the tapes together, I’ve been in sort of a limbo. Until we find another word than grief for the long-term effects of having lost someone important in our lives, I will continue to use the word “grief,” because whatever I do, whatever I feel is part of my grief journey.
And it’s all a gift.
I just hope I remember that during my next upsurge of grief.