Good Grief (not Charlie Brown)

Grief. It’s something we try to avoid, whether in personal experience or conversation. (Okay, it’s true the exception exists of someone flaunting grief for attention but let’s leave those exploiting loss for their own personal gain to the DSM http://psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm) .  But when asked generally the response is “Fine”. Even if it is so not fine.

Which puts and keeps the grieving at bay, although grief itself, the noun the overpowering shadow that makes only black clothes an almost acceptable, although still somehow too cheerful choice, the go to in the morning. (No pun intended.) Can’t help wonder if it is because when so truly sad black provided a remedy- almost an attempt at color again. “Maybe, if I wear a color that absorbs all the colors in the rainbow I will no longer despise rainbows for existing” sort of train of thought. Until a friend, or someone else comments on the lack of color in your wardrobe choices. So you attempt a change that does not correspond with your feelings and is more accepting less Disney villain. (prior to remake ).  And you curtail the urge to bring up the person, pet or relationship at any opportunity. You try to believe that ‘smiling will make you WANT to smile” . And you force a smile, even though you wrote a thesis paper about how Men telling Women to Smile was a  form of manipulation to coerce women.

And yet we are all warned that if we do not properly grieve we can never move on. So when no one is around, or at least in close proximity you wonder. About real things. Not just how many Twix wrappers are in the trash ( side note: don’t buy Halloween candy early unless you plan on purchasing it again before Halloween. )  About things you know would cause your Mother AND Father grief.  You wonder how much silent and then quiet crying can happen before someone notices. Or worse. And ready excuses like ” I was cooking with onions, the Lemon tree slashed  my arm.”  Because after all, you are an adult. You don’t have a dog Snoopy (probably) and even if you did chances are he is not the red baron.

Instead you wonder why the sky taunts you with it’s ridiculously beautiful cloud formations?  The sun has the audacity to shine? Even the wind sounds like a teasing little sister laughing while you want to cry. The elements are not your only enemy though. How is it possible that Google isn’t changing their landing page to reflect your sadness.  Or Twitter has shut down from the tweets about your loss?

And then you try your very best to make your way through the day even though that day is forever changed because there are holes, gaping holes from where someone used to exist.  And I want to believe in time they don’t go away, but they do get less full of stings. Scars never truly fade.  Somehow though they change. They become conversation points that don’t start (although they might still end) in a flood of tears.  Although it’s been years the wound still feels fresh. I cannot say that I do not welcome the dimming of the sun into night with the prospect of going to sleep and hoping to dream a new dream with a different NOW.

trouble comes in threes

“Trouble always comes in threes.” at least that is what Bella used to say.

Sort of funny expression from a woman with three children. When two bad things happened you knew you had to buckle down and wait for the next one. I was so distant though. In birth order that is. Well in other orders too, I suppose. Again, Bella had the perfect explanation for that one.

“ You each are like only children.” She went on to elaborate: this was because my older brother was not only the first born but the first born and ONLY son. And then my sister came along at nearly an Irish twin pace (Bella warned me- “don’t believe you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding that is a myth!” Didn’t want to let her know that nurses at UCSF also said as much after they also reminded my husband and I that teenagers should think about contraception. We met when we were teens (okay me) but didn’t get around to procreating until mid-twenties but hey who doesn’t enjoy being carded for cigarettes or wine when it is way past that birthdate. Sorry for the digression. Happens a lot round her and here so…)  And my sister was Deaf. So she won that ribbon.

And then in the frozen Alaska tundra. A place where Bella created an ice skating rink with a garden hose and a moose stared her down while washing dishes at the kitchen sink. The doctors informed Bella she was about as fertile as the soil (not so much). So about five months later I came knocking on her door, so to speak. Which meant she had to say no to cocktail parties (seriously she told me time and again about the parties she missed because she was sutured up and the horror story of her friend who was put on bed rest but could not say no to cocktail parties – it was the twiggy ear after all mini dresses and kohl eyeliner were all the rage. Oh wait, no I wasn’t born in the 60’s.)  and grew into a balloon.  All for me. The woman who proudly informed me and everyone else with a gin and tonic by her side and cigarette in her hand that she weighed 99 pounds when my Dad returned from Vietnam, she gained more than half that because of me. (Maybe I had big dreams?)

Can’t help but think my Dad had some resentment for me, or at least the doctors whose solution to a baby trying to escape the womb at 5 months is to sew up the Mom. However I have to believe Bella that when she said it was worth it , she completely meant it.  And truly she hated the cold so maybe it was not such a bad deal to be confined to a fluffy comforter during the oh so short sunny hours of winter in Alaska.  Besides my brother and sister were more than capable to find their way home with flashlights from school. Google it. It’s true.