Sometimes, it hurts so much I can’t breathe with it all.
There are days in which not an hour goes by that I don’t think, “Oh, I need to call Mom and tell her…” and it’s there I trail off, the thought fading away because no, I can’t call Mom.
I think that’s who I’m writing this Grief Handbook for. Strange, even with a Ph.D., I wasn’t smart enough to figure out my audience. No audience awareness here, composition kids. My students would be so disappointed in me.
I’m writing this for my mother, and discovering that, just in this moment, in this very act of writing, is an epiphany I don’t think I was ready for.
What does it mean to write for the dead? To write for an empty audience who can never respond? There is something almost luxurious in it; I know, after all, that my audience will not judge me. Not because she’s my mother, but because she is no longer with me.
Mothers, of course, judge early, and often.
But you, too, Gentle Reader, are my audience. I’ve paid attention to the stats on my pages, and it’s interesting to see who is coming here from my links on Facebook, from my links on their blogrolls, and those who are coming here because a search led them here. What to do when confronted with grief? I remember when I tried to find a book for my father, my father who does not read for comfort the way his daughter does, and I typed into Google “grief handbooks.”
I wonder who stumbled here looking for the same.
Here, a piece of advice, if I’ve learned anything from this horrific ordeal:
Write your way through the mess. Dance your way through it. Sing if you have to, paint and sculpt and exercise and scream. Clean your house, scrub your grout, burn CDs and playlists and play with your children. But do something. Because if you don’t, you stagnate. And when you stagnate, like an old, stagnant pond, you become covered in and contaminated with, vile, nasty things.
Write, my lovies. Dance. Sing. Be there with your grief. Own it. If you don’t, someone else will try to. Do not, under any circumstances, give anyone else control over your grief. It is yours, and you determine how to control it.
Be positive with your responses. Don’t let the wallow drag you down.