Grief and I are not strangers. Our paths have crossed from time to time. She (because you know grief personified is a female) has even moved in and stayed with me on a couple of occasions.
The first time she had a rather extended visit, I was 16. I had just watched my favorite person in the world, my rock, my everything, wither away. I held him as he took his last breath. Cancer, that fucking asshole, took my father from me on Memorial Day of my junior year in high school. For as long as I could remember it was just me, dad, and our dog. Then all at once it was just me, whisked away to live with my mom. To say my relationship with her was/is strained is an understatement.
I had known that cancer would win the battle with my dad for a few months. But you’re never ready for it, regardless.
Grief visited me often. She shrouded me for a long time in an inconsolable rage I had never before seen. I haven’t seen it since, nor do I ever wish to. She plagued me with denial at times, which in the moment seemed to make things better. Grief had me bargaining, ‘if’ this and ‘maybe’ that. But her biggest hold on me, next to the anger, was the deep hole of depression. Like being stuck in a dark and muddy well, where the slimy walls crumbled at my clawing grasps. That’s when she brought a suitcase and made herself at home.
I blacked a lot of that time out of my memory. I don’t know when grief had enough and started to pack up her things. But eventually acceptance rolled upon me. Then everything was just, empty.
Don’t get me wrong, grief has never been too far from me since then. She’s always a tear drop away. Grief pops in from time to time to say hi and deliver some sorrow, anger, bargaining and denial, with a touch of acceptance before she takes off again.
Her latest extended stay is hopefully wrapping up now. I’ve made the room she occupies less comfortable in hopes that she’ll leave quicker. But that old bat could find comfort on a bed of barbed wire.
Today is my dad’s birthday. He should have been another year older today. I should be able to hug him today. Grief should not be visiting me today. I should not be writing this today. Today I write RIP.
Happy birthday Dad, wherever you are now.