when my mom was dying ryan read a book by cs lewis called "a grief observed" and told me to read it, too. i got to the first line. it said, "no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." then i snapped the book shut and buried it underneath a pile of other books.
you guys. that one, simple sentence describes my entire experience with grief. i don't know if i'm handling it well. mostly, i think i try to avoid it. but sometimes, it will not be avoided. it gets in my face, eye to eye, nose to nose, breathing in my face.
but instead of being violent, which i guess i feel like it would, grief is fear that is soft. like you disintegrate with it instead of stand to fight it. so i only stand there for a moment before i feel like i should be on the floor, lost and weeping.
this weekend was a funeral for my friend david. david is a man who has been in my life again and again. and his wife, leslie and all of his children and their children, too. it was only eight months ago when david was diagnosed with brain cancer. and at the beginning of last week he died.
i know that david is happy to be free. i know that he is at peace. i know that he was ready to die. my mother is all of those things, too.
but i am still here, left behind. and now david's family is here, too. and i am so tired of being left behind. i am so tired of breathing in that stale air of grief, of feeling the crumbling sensation in my heart again and again and i am tired of that moment when grief enters the room and that fear, squeezes my heart and i can feel the panic start to climb through my body before i swallow it all back down again.
there are so many people who will miss david. i miss him already. david really loved me, even when i didn't deserve it. and i think he saw things in me that i can't see yet and he shared those things with me. he was kind. he loved my children. he spoke highly of ryan (and if you want me to love you that is how to do it). he gave me opportunities and encouragement. repeatedly. he was patient. he made me feel brave and strong.
there was a quote someone read at the funeral that said, "expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian."
this is true. and it is true that we all die. and we're all on our own paths, despite how we tie ourselves to others and we cannot control. . .well, anything expect maybe our attitudes (still debating this...). it is not the worst thing to die. it is only for a small period of time, then we're all together again. david was a good man, i know he's in a good place. and my mom was a good woman, i know she's in a good place, too. and if i do my best, i might get to go to a good place as well.
but the thought of carrying on without them is just heartbreaking...why, why must this be so?
i really wrestled with the thought of sharing this, but i felt like it should. it's part of life. it's something i struggle with. it's something i'll get used to, that i won't feel as sharply and perhaps it's something i'll want to remember (can't imagine why).
i want to remember david, i want to remember my mom. sometimes going toe to toe with grief is the best way i can think to do that.