This Is Grief
LifeHealing

This Is Grief

this is grief.

staring. at the sea. out the window. at the words you mean to read. at the wall. at the back of your eyes as you cannot sleep.

maybe it is disbelief.

maybe you have been entirely emptied. so your bones are soft. so the muscles in your face that would help you look away or focus are soft. the movement in your mind so subtle, pooling where a memory of you sits.

this is grief.

stopping as you press the steaming water down, making coffee. stopping because you realize you haven’t been breathing. or you think you haven’t. or you are aware that you have to and are without even thinking about it. and in this moment it becomes difficult.

stopping because a sound. a hum. a small part of a symphony redirects you in time and you’re with someone again.

stopping because your toes touched the grass and your feet are bare and when that person died it was too cold for grass or naked toes. a season has passed.

this is grief.

time passing so slowly. as if you are wading through water that is more viscous than it ought to be.

time passing so quickly that in one moment it was 7 p.m. and you were responsibly feeding yourself. the next it is one hour from tomorrow and you have neither eaten nor thought of letting sleep have you for the evening.

time. measured mockingly and without precision by the gold line of tequila in a glass. a bottle.

this is grief.

feeling as though your bones are not set right. as if everything is put together on a tilt. and that any slight burden will cause your whole vessel to collapse.

feeling everything. every single memory, ache, echo of laughter, of voice at all, of change, growth, suffering, every detail of death’s merciless twitch and take.

feeling nothing at all.

this is grief.

and in this. in this repertoire of sadness, this dark vocabulary, like stained silk, is something that cannot be touched.

some sweetness.

that we loved hard.

that we loved so hard.

in most relationships, there is space to meet someone in their death with regret: ” i’m sorry I was such an asshole; I wish we had had more time to make something right—to be more bold in our love.”

we loved so damn hard.

and that was it. it was simple.

it is simple. love hard. now. so that when grief comes, it cannot overtake the potency of the relationship. That the form holds and nothing in the way that you felt about that person is challenged or tinged. That the way you live because of them—for them—is not compromised by their absence. That the love does not feel the burden of death, rather is the pillar of strength at the centre of its abyss.

maybe you, too, have felt this thing called grief. maybe you, too, can find an anchor in love.

I do not expect to understand the severity of my grief in the death of my sister, Tessa. it is unfolding not in a way comparable to waves, that are rolling and soft and fluid, rather in shards that each time tear at a memory or a notion of the rest of my days without her. I will not tell you what she was to me, because every word is faltering and inadequate; it can be impossible to answer, “how are you?”

And so I won’t ask of your grief. I will hope, though, in your own processes, that you will find your own. I hope that you will not grieve in a scripted or methodical way, that repression will not strangle the immensity of your feelings, nor will projection lace your ways with a falsity very much like poison. I hope you will not make a habit out of unnecessary “strength.” feel what you feel. however heavy. however buoyant. feel it in your body as much as you tell it from your mind. and god, be soft with your hearts. I learned that from her. she may have been fierce, riotous with sass and faith and effort, but her heart was soft enough to yield to everyone who wanted to rest there. she could hold people alive; she can hold me now with that love she gave before she left.

this is grief. and one day at a time, this is healing. TC mark

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About the author
my first acupuncture appointment was for insomnia + a broken heart. Follow Tiffany on Instagram or read more articles from Tiffany on Thought Catalog.

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