Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What You Don't Know

#writeingrief Day 2

What you don’t know (or may not know or cannot know) about grief and love and loss…

What you don’t know about grief and love and loss is that you think you can imagine what it’s like to lose a particular person. Maybe you have even had nightmares about such a thing. But you can’t know what it’s like to lose that particular person. You can’t know what it’s like unless it actually happens. You may think you know what it’s like, but you don’t. You only find out if it actually happens. Does that make sense? Are you buying this? I’m telling you that you can’t know what it’s like to lose her unless it happens. You may think that you have a pretty good idea of what it would be like, but believe me when I tell you that you have no fucking idea. You can’t know. You can’t know unless it happens.

And the only one who can know what it’s like for you to lose that particular person is you. No one else in the world can know that. Your relationship with that particular person is yours alone.

Have you ever known of someone’s loss and said something like, “I don’t know how they are even standing. I wouldn’t be able to function. I would just die if I lost my _____________ (child, best friend, lover, sibling, parent, et cetera.).”? You would die. You’re right. You would die, but you would also walk around in a new body that looks pretty similar to the body you had the moment before you knew that you lost your person. And then someone would say that stupid thing about how they would just die if they lost their person. And then you would think that they were telling you that you should be dead (you are, they just don’t realize it). And it might feel like they are saying that you aren’t devastated enough. You aren’t as devastated as they would be. But that isn’t true. You are walking around in your new body with pieces rattling around inside but most people won’t realize it, and if the do realize it, they probably won’t know what to do about it or they will think they know just what to say (whatever they might say probably turns out to be bullshit). Or maybe they say just the right thing--a simple acknowledgement of how much your situation sucks and how they know they can’t fix it and how they love you/support you/see you.

What you may not know about grief and love and loss is that it becomes easier to pretend that everything is alright. It becomes easier to let everyone pretend that you aren’t broken and that they can’t hear your broken pieces clanking together each time you move. That they don’t see you cringe sometimes when you get jabbed unexpectedly.

It’s easier to pretend because in some ways it is the truth. You are alright. You are walking around and talking and maybe even smiling. So you are alright, but you’re still just as broken as you were all those days ago--maybe even worse, depending on the day. I am (once again) failing at explaining all of this. It’s impossible with these words that we have.

What you cannot know about my grief and love and loss is how I loved my sweet babies and how I knew them: This is mine alone.