‘How are you?” was the first question. “How is your son doing?” was usually the second. This is how the conversation went with those who knew me well.
Meghan O’Rourke’s beautiful and poetic memoirs “The Long Goodbye” was shared by a virtual friend recently. It speaks of the grief she experienced after the death of her mother. It completely resonated with me.
“When you lose someone you were close to, you have to reassess your picture of the world and your place in it. The more your identity is wrapped up with the deceased, the more difficult the mental work.”
“The people we most love do become a physical part of us, ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created.”
“If children learn through exposure to new experiences, mourners unlearn through exposure to absence in new contexts. Grief requires acquainting yourself with the world again and again; each “first” causes a break that must be reset… And so you always feel suspense, a queer dread—you never know what occasion will break the loss freshly open. After a loss, you have to learn to believe the dead one is dead. It doesn’t come naturally.”
She very accurately calls it “an absence that becomes a presence”.
He is ever present in my thoughts. I miss him all the time. It hurts all the time. This world is odd without him. Something about it is very incongruous. I can’t make sense of it.
“It was like when you stay in cold water too long. You know something is off but don’t start shivering for ten minutes.”
I am learning to tolerate it with a lot of help. It takes up a lot of energy. May be this is the new ‘normal’. It will change again as everything always does. So, I will not call it anything.
Right now, it is dusk and a gentle breeze is blowing. The sky is clear and I can hear the TV noises from inside the house where my parents are sitting together enjoying some musical competition on the tele. I am so grateful for them. Things are not too bad. 🙂