How do you go back to normal?
At some point, it's essential to trip into life again, because getting lost and staying there does no honour to the one who is gone, instead, you must live on and carry them with you into that life. But how?? How do you pretend at work or the meetings or the bank that everything is fine, because after all, overwhelming perfect strangers with your loss is not polite and yet again, I am back to wishing for the dress code of mourning from a hundred years ago and more.
I don’t know what I dislike more: there is the beginning of grief where food has no flavour, little shapes of tasteless cardboard in your mouth and around you, the world has no colour. Watching others go about their lives is like watching a movie, you separate from the crowd you were part of just yesterday and time passes at a snail’s space, as you realize it has only been one day, one week since your world, your life, your self was rent and changed past bearing. And then there is the moment where you somehow can step to the side of it all and laugh with the clerk in the grocery store as if you are not carrying this heavy weight of tears.
It comes too soon, too soon for decency.
Later still, as you go about the simple tasks that make up a day, you forget, for a few moments, you find yourself humming, because that’s what you do when you do these routine steps, the hum embedded within them, entangled in the strands of normalcy and with its habit of years, it claims you for a minute or for two. And you find that as long as you keep busy, be it with feeding the cat, clicking into work mode or disappearing into a TV program, you are somewhere else, parallel to the place of grief and then…. In a moment of stillness, of non-doing, over lunch, at the crosswalk waiting for green, turning off the lights at night, the wave hits you and then another and with each, the tears come closer, welling up from deep within, moving towards the surface in rhythmic pulls and you think it’ll only be to your eyes but not further, that’ll you’ll hold yourself together and you’re wrong. The wave is not small, it has grown from each that pulled the loss upwards, pushed aside the curtain of normal where you hid, enfolded, and the tears fall again, from a bottomless source and you curl around it to keep from breaking.
And you talk to others who are heavy with the loss, because they understand the tears that accompany your every step, they understand this howl of rage and misery building within you, demanding to be let out in a scream, in a vicious fight and anyone and anything will do as long as you can rip someone, something to shreds the way your heart is shredded. They understand the outrage that now, the world goes back to normal, but you cannot, because there no normal anymore. The first week has passed and the funeral is done and now there is just an endless stretch of life to be lived, lived without. And you know that you will, that eventually, the grieving will progress, that food will have flavour again, the world have colour and down the road, the hole in your heart will scar, you will laugh again and when you do, you will remember not with fathomless pain, but with love and a smile, the ache always a part, but less than that love and that smile.