Friday, March 6, 2015

The grief lens

Oh, but I am in a bad mood today! I'm careening up to the year anniversary of Kevin's death and everything is just wrong. In my head I am snapping at everyone, though I think I'm doing a reasonably job of keeping my mouth shut and not biting anyone's head off. Even when I want to.

That's part of what grief is about. Everything is wrong. Grief becomes a lens through which the world is skewed and upside-down. For all that the world is grey without Kevin, it is also remarkably black and white. Everything is either an association with Kevin or something he will never know. It sucks the possibility of joy away. The lens makes everything sharp and painful at the same time that it blurs the world and I know my perceptions are skewed.

For example, I went to the movies recently with a friend. We saw the re-issue of Blade Runner, a movie I saw when it first was released and have always loved. When I was young it was a great piece of science fiction. It inspired me to start studying origami. As I grew I saw it as film noir. And once I was involved with Kevin I saw its technical might and narrative structure.

Now? It's a meditation on mortality. Lines like Time to die and Too bad she won't live. But who does? are entirely too relatable. Yes, it was always a meditation on mortality, but I was able to see that contextually, within the greater narrative arc of the film. Now it's all that matters.

I know, perspective changes with everything we experience. But grief has done so more violently that anything else I've ever encountered. I struggle to not become bitter over friends' success and achievements. The bitterness creeps in because, no matter what I achieve now, it feels flat. I can't share it with Kevin. I'm just biding my time and doing what I have always done because I don't know what else to do.

I hate feeling lost and sour. I'd like to think it is not in my nature but there it is. And without the counterbalance of the joy I felt with him, it lingers. The lens alters my view of myself and those around me.

Please bear in mind, I don't always feel this bad. It's all exacerbated by the coming anniversary. But right now? It just sucks.

The grief lens alters everything. I look different as the world looks different to me. I miss being delighted by the things I see and encounter. I miss feeling happy when people I love are happy; it's not that I wish them unhappiness, but I need to remind myself to celebrate them. It's not longer automatic. It's as though I'm a step behind in the dance as I think about every motion, because the world I see is skewed. I don't know if there will be ground beneath my feet.

Be gentle with those who are grieving. The world we see is not the same one as yours. Believe us when we tell you it is different. That the movie isn't the same. That we are a beat behind because we need to remind ourselves to smile or laugh. That the ground is no longer reliable and our vision is not trustworthy.

(49 weeks.)

(c) 2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Your honesty and clarity about the grieving process is very refreshing. I always appreciate people that can write in a way that feels musical. Your writing style reminds me very much of music in that it has a certain rhythm, structure and cadence. Not only are you a great oral storyteller, you're a wonderful writer to boot! I wonder- was the re-run of Blade Runner that you saw at the Tivoli? If so, I was totally there!


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails