Separating Good from Grief

It’s been difficult to separate the grief from the good things in the last year.

Some of it is worrying about “how can I be happy, in any moment, when a central person in my life is no longer around” and I also worry about not honoring my mom, because there’s a really visceral attachment to the grief too. The fear is that if I move on or don’t feel overwhelming grief that I’m starting to lose the memory of my mom, and that is really scary.

Reckoning

I did not say all I could but it was enough.

In the way we assign roles to those in our lives, I became your truth teller and acknowledged the world as it was.

This I knew: you were sick and you would die. You knew this truth too, how could you not?

It came from within your body, and seeped into the chemicals that together orchestrated fear and dread in your brain, a little more each day.

Irony is ill treated these days. People use its coat when they merely mean to be sarcastic, bitter or hopeless.

Here is irony: poison growing from the most lifegiving part of your body destined to take your life, and with great pain.

Still there is no justice. In order that my thoughts do not become bitter I comfort myself with the knowing. I told truths when others’ muted faces did their best to lie. Oh, what sorrow it was, unyielding almost, to watch the torture. “Rip out my hair,” I wanted to say, “sap my strength, make me vomit uncontrollably and unable to eat.”

And now all that I can carry is the knowing. I did not lie to you and because we are alike in that way I know it gave you some small relief, acknowledging that it was as terrible as you knew it to be deep within your bones.