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Grief

My grandmother, age 2
My grandmother, age 2

The past year has been about death. I clumsily wrote about it in a previous post but, as with grief, it’s an ongoing process of healing.  I’ve tried to write this post so many times but my vocabulary isn’t large enough to express the nuances of my grief. Each death and it’s requisite grief builds one on the other. First my cousin, then my grandmother, then two of my closest and dearest friends. And when I sought comfort in my favorite film franchise, they sent my favorite character to his senseless death. I became lost in earlier films when he was alive and fighting the Empire with his beloved by his side. And then Bowie died. And Alan Rickman.

Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad.

I took Colonel Brandon’s words to heart and started finding any task that would keep me busy. I took on more hours at my part-time job, I was at the gym a few hours a day and sometimes I would take my writing work to a place that was loud and filled with noisy people. I hate noisy people. I watched Star Wars 4-6 over and over and discovered the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Legacy) novels. Anything to keep my mind or body occupied.

Then one day it was okay to be still and enjoy the quiet. Spring was early in Houston so the days were bright and blue. I was okay to be alone with my thoughts and this grief wasn’t as heavy. It was and is still there but it’s easier to get through a day without needing to escape.

We all handle grief in different ways. My grandmother would be sad but never devastated or depressed. She outlived her siblings by many years. She lost her first husband (the love of her life) at an early age and she was 18 when her mother died next to her. She would tell us to grieve and then move on because there was nothing you could do about it. She lived to the age of 97. I don’t think she tried to suppress her grief or deny it but rather dealt with it immediately and head on. And then she would move on. And yet, almost 80 years later she still found it difficult to talk about her mother’s death or look at pictures of her.

When I grieve I tend to deny it, then wear it for a while, then break down. Repeat. Or, I hide and let the grief out little by little. I still can’t listen to Bowie’s last album, but I will eventually. I listened to “Heroes” and broke down in sobs but it wasn’t about Bowie. It was about all of the grief of the past year. I still feel it lingering inside wanting or needing (not sure which) to get out and be done with it and move on.

I feel like I should handle my grief a certain way but I can’t. We all deal with it in our own way and in our own time. When my first grandmother died, I didn’t cry for two years and then one afternoon I cried for several hours. Sobs and sobs. So it could still be a while before I let all of it go. And that’s where I get unnerved. Because I want it to done and gone. And I don’t know when that will be. Tomorrow? Ten years from now? It’s there. It’s waiting but it’s not sure how to get out. Maybe I should listen to Bowie’s last album and see where it takes me.

Today’s Hipstamatic Image:

It’s palm trees along Westheimer against today’s beautiful blue sky. I’ve got to try some new lenses and film on the app.

Palm Trees, Houston | Iram2000 | Triplecrown
Palm Trees, Houston | Iram2000 | Triplecrown

Today’s Workout

I walked my dog for an hour. My body needed a break.

3 Comments

  1. I agree with Jules. My experience has been that grief becomes part of us, alongside joy, disappointment, excitement, despair, etc…and, much like emotions in general, it’s impossible to predict when they will rush through us. Also, just as it’s the unexpected happiness that’s the most thrilling, it’s the unexpected grief that stings the worst – I have found it much easier to manage anticipated grief, on holidays or other benchmarks, than the grief that hits at the most random times, in the grocery store or while chatting with a friend. I think our grandparents were more matter of fact about loss because they experienced greater amounts of it earlier in life. Thanks to modern medicine and evolving politics/warfare, our generation has been, for the most part, spared of death until later in life – at which point, we have no idea how to process it when it comes. Like you, I have experienced loss in waves, which certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Conversely, good times come in waves too; you just have to hold out for the next set.

  2. The thing people get wrong about grief is the idea that there is some natural, eventual end to it. I don’t think there is. I think it is something we learn to live with, rearing its ugly head when we least expect it but mostly living quietly alongside us.

    • Anna Julia (wrldtrvlgrl) Anna Julia (wrldtrvlgrl)

      I think I keep trying to figure it out, like it’s a giant puzzle. When I get it all put together then the grieving will be complete. But 35 years later I still can’t listen to Amazing Grace without crying because I miss my grandmother.

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