Friday, September 26, 2014

The thief

Right now? I'm okay. Okayish. I'm not crying, I'm looking forward to time with a friend, I'm drinking tea. Each moment of being okay is a tender new thing, fraught with complexity. And I know it won't last. Grief comes in waves and each time I wish I could call the authorities and tell them about what has been stolen from me. I wish I had a formal vehicle for complaint and resolution other than writing, talking and time itself. My life is so different now.

Death has stolen so much.

It has stolen my comforts. It has stolen the every day joy of holding hands, of knowing there is someone I can call to say I'm on my way home, of knowing that call will make him smile. (And yes, I know there are others who will hold my hand, others I can call, others who will smile, but you know it's not the same.)

It has stolen my delight in the physical. It has stolen back scratches and making love and the good sweat you work up when you exercise with your beloved because you might show off for them just a little. (And yes,  I know I can buy a back scratcher, sex is always findable,  and I still sweat when I exercise, but you know it's not the same.)

It has stolen my intellectual certainty. It has stolen my mirror, my examiner, my thinking companion. (And yes, I can call upon others to reflect, to examine, to accompany me on flights of fancy, but you know it's not the same.)

Death is a thief. It is the greatest thief because, on top of all these and more, it has stolen the known future. It has stolen my present day comfort and the knowledge of comfort at hand. It has stolen companionship expressed through the body and the certainty of comfort to come. It has stolen plans and hopes and aspirations. It has stolen my understanding of myself and my place in the world.

And yes, I know many of these things will come back into my life. I know that part of grief is a process of rediscovery and rebuilding, that I will find all of these again in new ways. Even in this present moment I find things to appreciate. The comfort of tea. The feel of the breeze on my cheek. The process of writing. I know there is comfort and physicality and intellectual companionship in front of me. I know I will discover new ways of being in the world.

But none of these will be with him.

You know it's not the same.

(And please don't tell me but it might even be better. It won't be. It will be different. It may be very good. But it will not have the same flavor and hope that I lived in before. It cannot be the same. Comparing one future to another is as foolish as comparing one grief to another. They are never the same.)

(c)2014 Laura S. Packer

(26 weeks. I love you.)

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  1. So true. We watched my mom eventually get "different" but clearly it wasn't better and it wasn't the same. I personally have often wondered what WOULD have come her way if she could have faced her grief so valiantly like you. I can't help thinking she would have been happier (eventually). I feel her blocked anger and grief and fear brought her an early death at 65. Dad died when they were both 42. Her second husband (married WAY too fast once she met him at 47) died when she was 52. Ouch. But in a way she was relieved. It had been hard on the whole family, tho he took her dancing, and bought her nice things. All these years later I wonder how I might have helped. I was a girl 13, then 18, then 23. It was HER life.


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