Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

It’s been a little over 4 months since my brother’s passing. This is an interesting time, when the death is now very real but still freshly affects my life. I find myself mistaking my relative “okayness” with my “being done grieving” when, I’ll never be done grieving.

Life is in full swing now: Mom and Dad are regularly engaging in “normal” activities and a social life again; my extended family have “normal” get-togethers, such as Easter; and I am feeling back to my “normal” self — enthusiastic, inspired, motivated, making plans, writing projects, wearing strange dresses from The Goodwill. Although there are certainly moments or even hours where grief sharply insinuates itself into my awareness, rarely do I have to give up whole swaths of days to “The Grieving Process.”

But things are still not “normal.”

* * *

I’ve been making plans to move for months. I wake up some days, look around my room — the same room as when I was 16 years old — and I say out loud: “I am SO ready to blow this popsicle stand!”

My plans have been perpetually interrupted for over a year. Health concerns, Dengue Fever, my brother’s death — every step forward I take there are two backward to perform. On March 22nd, when I turned a ripe 27 years old, I could feel my organs shift in protest of my reverse momentum.

“You’re 27. What the hell are you doing with your life?” they whispered. I told them I wanted to “move on” too.

* * *

This morning, my parents left for a cruise to Mexico. I was looking forward to a quiet week alone writing and yoga-ing. Standing in the kitchen cleaning the last dirty dish, I suddenly had the shudder of a “day-mare” — the daytime version of
a fear-stricken nightmare that feels a lot like a 2-second panic-attack.

I have them occasionally in moments of calm un-focus when my mind can wander: driving, lathering my hair… or washing dishes. It is when my mind can invent stories or circle back and remember odd details like the socks I wore on Thanksgiving day, or how the light of the street-lamp outside my brother’s house looked particularly orange, or how soft and wet the grass was when I fell to it in grief as the police officer came toward me with that look of regret in his eyes.

Today, in micro-second flashes, my mind began to create multiple scenarios of how my parents were suddenly simultaneously meeting their end while I was home washing dirty dishes — plane crash, boat sink, food poisoning — and I would be left alone, family-less. The sudden shock of hypothetical grief overwhelmed the perverse absurdity of it, and I was consumed with a fit of tears that slowly spotted the kitchen sink.

I had to wash some of the dishes over again.

I tell myself lately that I am still living in Penngrove with my parents because my parents need me. Every so often I am humbled with the magnitude of how much I need my parents.

It is in these moments — still difficult after four months as it was the day immediately following Chris’ death — that I am reminded there is no rushing this process, and grief doesn’t care what “I” want.

§438 · March 30, 2008 · Unthinkable Loss · · [Print]

1 Comment to “@ 4 Months”

  1. alia says:

    Isn’t it interesting how the brain weaves these potential scenarios of suffering, when really we want to avoid suffering? I do it sometimes in mundane moments and it sends me into throes of unprecedented misery. Humans are so weird. Despite the “perverse absurdity” of it, I sort of understand the impulse. It’s like trying to mentally prepare for the worst, which you can of course never truly be prepared for. Ah well, your experience struck a chord, anyway.
    I have more to say, but I’ll email it. Love you.

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