Warning: Strong language below!
She had ignored it for days now, filling her head instead with senseless noise.
Creating scenarios in her mind, she was never coming down from the clouds.
She reverted back to it every now and again, because it never truly went away. She had simply learned how to distract herself from it. But it was always there, leering, hanging around.
But she knew.
Always, in a million ways, she knew that there was no escaping it.
She had to speak with it, had to say hello. She wondered if everyone’s reaction was the same when they finally welcomed it back home.
Did all of life stop for a second for everyone else too?
Did they, too, relive the seconds in which they were told, each and every time they let it back in?
And when it came home, did it take over their entire being—body, heart, mind and soul?
Did some people simply ignore it and go about their days?
Of course, there are those who never truly work through it; maybe daydreaming her life away wasn’t such a bad thing. After all, so many people are dependent on one thing or another to get them through their day.
She tried everything in the book—drugs, booze, men, food, exercise—but it didn’t help.
She decided she’d “work” through her pain, fully aware, fully present; nothing could fill the unfillable void. Maybe temporarily, but when it all came flooding back into her veins, she knew she was only taking 10 steps backward.
She passed people every day, aware she wasn’t alone in how she felt, but how do you start such a sharing of ill fortune with another human? How do you strike up that conversation?
Everyone she had met since was so uncomfortable with it. Best not to bother anyone.
She has grown. Oh, how mightily she has grown from it.
(Okay, initially she broke, crashed into the fiery pits, not giving a second thought to anyone or anything she brought down with her. But surely everyone else was less than graceful too? I mean, how do you go about it “gracefully?” No such thing, no such anything in the first months after.)
She walks as lightly as she can through life now, trying to leave a mark everywhere she goes. It’s essential to be nice, to always leave people feeling better than when you had first met them. Anything could happen before you see them next, you see.
Oh, there it is. Regret. Guilt.
Then it all stops. Sweet reflection, and a moment’s silence.
No, she’s been here before, she won’t go back.
She didn’t want to greet it again; it left her more tired than any physical activity ever could. This tired was deep in her bones. Nothing worked afterward, and the very thought of sitting through it again…
How often must I do this? Is there an end date? Do I live like this forever now? Hmmm, I should probably ask someone who knows.
God knows another therapy session would bring her to her knees. Normal conversation, please. With the people who know. Or no conversation at all.
Here it was, all-subduing, as if it was pouring out from her skin. Pain, unlike any she knew. Fucking immeasurable pain. She was in awe of its depths—its ever-peeling and revealing layers. Jesus. Life was easier when she numbed the pain with booze and strangers. But that was the easy way out. And she knew exactly where it led. No. No going back now. No chance.
So she sat with it. Talked to it:
“I have you, I am here.”
It came out of her pores, silent screams. How does all this emotion fit in here? Where does it take refuge when I go about my days? It’s so vast a burden to carry for someone so small in the grand scheme of “things.”
There’s so much out there, she told herself, once the intensity of it started to pass. So many people, so much beauty to explore—relish it, live it, surely you’ll meet someone or something who knows.
Nobody should feel this pain. It’s unjust. Inhumane.
But alas, she knew.
So she sat with it. She greeted it, acknowledged it, and welcomed it home.
“It’s grief!” she said out loud. “It’s grief.”
Author: Lisa Harris
Image: Courtesy of Author
Editor: Toby Israel