They say you have to let grief seep into your veins to truly integrate the loss. The helplessness of nothingness covers you like a black cloud on a winter’s day. Anticipating the rain is like unloading a deluge of tears from one’s eyes. The tears flow naturally like the kiss of spring on one’s cheeks. Letting them flow is much easier than wearing a mask but wearing a mask is much easier than to cry in front of you (again).
Grief taps me on the shoulders late at night; she whispers small talk in my ears alluding to happier days when I had you. Grief makes a fool of me on many occasions as we dance a tango of two steps forward, three steps back, three steps forwards, four steps back.
Such grief visits me like an unwanted friend. She knocks on my door only to greet me with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and sorrow. Some days I open the window to let her out, it’s an intrusion on my happiness. Grief often takes a seat at the dinner table and I politely remind her of the etiquette that is required. Grief is a constant reminder that death is infinite and a passage of rite to all those who walk this earth. In the midst of all this however grief still continues to show me beauty, the colours of dusk, the sound of the waves ebbing and flowing, the laughter of children, the memory of you is never afar.
To fully immerse oneself into feeling the pain of sorrowfulness is allowing and validating one’s ownership to grieve. As an act of love I allow grief to remind me of what I have lost. It’s the secondary losses and the empty chair on those special occasions that hint at the reality that life doesn’t allow for me to grieve and feel your absence, it begs for me to keep afloat.
As the days turn into months and months turn into years my grief continues to accompany me whilst traveling unfamiliar terrain. I wear heavy boots even in the sunshine but I am always relieved to remove them & let my feet feel the warmth of the sand beneath me every single day because I still have you and love you.
Grief is my educator, my facilitator, and my teacher. It’s the lessons from my grief that enable me to sit and reflect like a mirror to the moon. Some days I ponder how much life has changed since your passing, the reflection I see is a different one. As time prevails the growth around me has been substantial and the days are no longer tinged with so much unhappiness. Your death was an invitation to ‘reevaluate’ and to ‘rebuild’ a life worth living because even in death you are still very much part of me like I am part of you.
Written by Janice Butera.
Published in: GRIEVE: Stories and Poems for Grief Awareness Month 2015
Hunter Writers Centre.