Grief, by definition is “keen mental suffering over affliction or loss.” That is grief, but grief is so much more. Grief is hearing that loved one’s voice because you want so badly to speak to them that your mind is trying to reconcile your needs and your actuality. Grief is hearing a recording of that person’s voice and being reduced to tears because the timbre and cadence has torn open a scar that had hardly began to close. Grief is looking at a picture and having to be reminded again that someone you’ve held to you so dearly is gone and there is no way to reverse that affliction. Grief is absolute.
Once grief truly arrives, it doesn’t go away, it just becomes familiar. Grief is courteous in the way that it will fade to the background, silently, allowing some substitute of a life to take place. Grief is absolutely obnoxious in the way that it will loudly herald its own presence in the form of a loved one’s favorite song and grief will hold onto you tightly as sobs rack your body and obscure your vision in hot, salty tears. Grief is selfish, in the way that it wants to be the only thing you can feel in spite of the sun still shining, the Earth still spinning, and the chances of another day (while not promised) are still pretty good. Grief is a glutton, as it will eat away at your ability to smile, your will to get out of bed, and devour the color from the bluest skies. Grief is neglectful; when it feels like grief is all you have, grief will leave you feeling empty and alone.
Grief is abusive, as it will joyfully remind you of that last hug you didn’t ask for, or that harsh string of words that you wish you didn’t say, and never got the time to take back. Grief is that spoonful of water that everyone swears you can drown in; it’s been years, but even a little taste of that feeling will consume you whole and you are left to suffocate in grief. Grief is recognizing that people around you are grieving and not being able to help them, because your stage of grief is different than theirs and they feel like no one will understand them, just like you thought no one could understand you. Grief is having to get up anyways and smile like nothing is wrong because its been two years and other people heal a little bit faster than you.
Grief is loyal, as it will never truly leave you be. Grief is complex as you will feel it differently as each day passes, but you are sure it is grief. Grief is final – no matter how much you made people feel at home, they are still torn apart when you are gone.
I am grieving today and I will grieve tomorrow, and the day after, and so on.
Until I see you on the other side, Sincerely,
Your son, your uncle, your friend, your nephew, your biggest fan, your rock, and the keeper of your grief.