“One of the hardest things you will ever have to do, my dear, is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive.” – Anonymous
My grandmother died a week ago. De was and forever will be one of the greatest souls I’ve ever encountered. I keep waiting for IT – the moment when I break. The moment when I realize she’s truly away and I can’t meet her by her raised garden beds to discuss music or baking. It’s been a week and I’ve only teared up once, and not even because of her death but because of the grief I’ve seen ripple in the people around me. I love my grandmother. I miss her. But it’s been a week and I just don’t feel mournful. It is easy to say things that one does not mean, or only mean momentarily, but to falsify an emotion because one is trying so hard to feel it – all of our “shoulds “- well I just won’t. That takes too much work and I’m trying to just love me for myself in every propensity, or even lack thereof. I know she’s in heaven, and she was happy to go and I’m sure that is a factor to my numbness to the misery of death – even this particular death. I started to think exactly what was grief? Did I know that emotion, or was I just incapable of this feeling? Was there something wrong with me? Maybe I wasn’t as sensitive as so many had claimed I was, because at the end of the day, who doesn’t cry at their grandmother’s funeral but cries during a certain baby shampoo commercial? Death has never scared me, it’s hard to explain. We know that energy cannot be destroyed or replicated, only transferred. I guess that’s how I view death. Their energy has been transferred into something else, their soul is elsewhere, and though I’m sad of not seeing them physically and coherently for a time, eventually I too will follow down the path that all souls take, when they leave the flesh and are their own.
Grief is powerful. Grief is cleansing. To grieve is be crushed by sorrowfulness, a rage against injustice, regret……it’s mourning the tear in the fabric of our souls that were woven together by blood or by time…an inside joke or a kind gesture. Perhaps for me death is not physical, but of things that our unseen but just as permanent as someone dying and staying dead. I have grieved my biological parents and that life that is a constant shadow of the one I have. I have grieved my father’s alcoholism and everything he missed. I have grieved every difference I have from my family, every argument and declined invitation. The loss of my youth, the silver good luck charm I got for my sixteenth birthday, my failures….I have mourned them all. The loss of a friend while living feels a great deal more permanent than the passing of a loved one. When someone dies their energy only transferred, the love is not loss – on the contrary it grows within our hearts. But when someone ends a relationship, it’s as if to say – “The little time I have on this earth I wish to spend away from you.” What is bound on earth is bound in heaven. I have grieved more times than I wish to recollect, and sometimes do unwillingly at odd and inconvenient hours in the night. I do not fear death, nor pity the dead. I fear the pain caused by the living, I pity everyone subject – we who are alive. My grandmother is not in pain. She is not left wondering. She is no longer confined by a rib cage and aging skin or time. She is not dead, but alive – just not here. We left here are the dying.