Monsters

Your grief will never go away.

A moment: an hour, a week, a month, a year, a decade. Time passes. You think it gets better. You climb up mountains full of knives and stacked with ghosts, and you think, there I’ve made it. You think you’ve conquered the grief, wrestled the demon and broken its back in two. But on a hot summer day blue with heat, it will erupt with the quiet violence of a ship snapping into two.

They will always be there. She will always be there, a ghost on your lips. His smell will linger on the edges of memory. Their words serrated knives on the unstable horizons of your inner landscape.

And over the years, in order to survive, your heart will fold them into two-dimensional origami, so that their memory doesn’t gash you with every unplanned tumble down the rabbit-hole, every unexpected gaze into the looking-glass. So that they become just a sentence, an image, a breath on the wind, a memory of panic, a text blankly saying “we need to talk”.

One thing you must understand is that your grief will not go away. It squats in the bowels of your being, wailing in the hot, livid darkness of the night.

And yet to be fully human is to love. And to love is to be vulnerable, to risk the softest, brightest part of yourself.

I don’t think the grief ever goes away, I don’t think you can scrub it off. It hurts. Of course it does, even years later. The smile that was always beneath the squishy nose you kissed. The unique dialect of affection you both developed; the soft grammar your bodies kneaded and interlaced into rhythm, the edged lexicon of shared experience. The curry puff that she bought you after a long day. That time he lugged a guitar to your house in a failed surprise attempt. The afternoons spent not talking, just reading together, two worlds companionably beside and between.

No, the grief doesn’t go away. But it becomes woven into the fabric of who you are. It becomes the rich sediment and humus upon which you can grow another universe, another incarnation. And perhaps our eyes must do some raining if we’re ever going to grow.

The grief doesn’t go away. Sometimes it is a jagged obsidian knife inside your heart. Sometimes it is a hard knot inside your chest and throat, so tight you cannot breathe. But maybe growing up is learning to live with the monsters inside all of us.

Maybe true love only comes after true loss.

“You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.” | Morpheus, Neil Gaiman
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4 thoughts on “Monsters

  1. Very true. Grief is the one thing I wish they’d teach in school, along the lines of sex education, it would open up the eyes to so many young adults and only help prepare them for the future.

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      1. Exactly, I remember as a child I was always embarrassed by talking how I felt but I think a part of that comes from the fact it was completely new. Nowadays if I have to get something off my chest I won’t hold back.

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  2. I’m trying to be more conscious of that too! I think as a guy even in contemporary societies it’s still very difficult to be open and vulnerable about emotions in a socially acceptable way. But it’s been far more liberating than I would ever have expected.

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