Opinion » Alta States

Alta states

Grief is a bitch – and then you move on. Or not…



"There is no correct way or time to grieve."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

People keep telling me it's going to get better. In fact, they insist it's going to get better. I'm not convinced though. Despite the "time heals all wounds," bromide yet another well-wisher throws my way, I'm not so sure it's that easy. Do these people - friends, relatives, acquaintances - really know what they're talking about? Can they really feel what I feel?

Of course not...

For me, the grieving process has been more like a surreal roller-coaster ride than a straight-line trip. Frankly, I don't feel like I've achieved much progress at all these last few weeks. But it's more than that. I feel totally disconnected from my life right now. Like somebody stole my script and replaced it with an existential nightmare that I can't wake up from.

Ever read Kobo Abe's Woman In The Dunes ? It's a frightening story about a woman who lives in a house in a hole in the middle of the desert. Every night when she goes to bed, the desert winds endeavor to bury her house with sand. When she wakes up - well, you can imagine the rest. These days I'm that woman in the hole digging as fast as my tired arms will let me. And I can't help but feel that the desert sands are winning...

Sometimes, it gets so bad that I wake up in the morning and can't even summon the energy to get out of bed.

But I do it anyway. Don't have a choice really. As I've learned only too well these last few months, life marches on no matter how grievously you've been hit. And that's the real bitch. No matter how sad your living circumstances have become - no matter how much your soul is suffering - there are still bills to pay, toilets to clean and garbage to take out. There's a 16-year-old chomping at her independence-bit, a 21-year-old trying to move on with her life, letters to respond to, a living to be made (amazing how money matters when you become the household's only income earner). Life for me now is exactly like those desert winds are for Abe's protagonist. Too bad about your loss pal, now get digging!

Know what I mean? Grief is a frivolous emotion - it's a psychic luxury that I just can't permit myself to indulge in if I want to get everything done that I need to get done in my day. So grief sneaks up on me when I least expect it. And the results, as you can imagine, are both embarrassing and frustrating.

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