It was another bloody memorial for you today bab.
Its not that you’re not worth remembering, my blood is your memory, but I am done with doing it like this now. I am done with funerals and ashes and plaques and symbolically planted trees. I am done with public words and awkward gatherings and stilted silences. I am done with the presence of people who don’t care, don’t want to be there but feel they ought to.
But, I’m trying to be gracious about letting others grieve as they need to, to behave as you would want. Death is always something divided, something we need to learn to share, so I showed up and smiled until my smile started to wear thin and look a little grotesque.
The thing is, death has let people make what they want out of you bab. They sit around and talk and spin and reassemble you into someone you were not and it makes me mad as hell. You cannot defend yourself from these fantasies, from the plastic flowers, these pretty petty fakes.
I tell myself that it’s not all necessarily said or done with ill will. I guess I may end up doing the same. I know cannot get back to the you you. You slipperiness frustrates me and maybe memory will slide a quarter inch each day until I have you all skewed off course, all Disneylanded up in a dress.
In a way we are like the blind men groping for the idea of an elephant . We each touched one bit of you, we came from different angles and we can argue about who you were forever without ever having a sense of all of you. We are all wrong. We are all right. We never got to see the sum of your parts.
That aside,frankly everyone was talking a load of bollocks today dad. The relatives who never call me told me how much they miss me, how much they want to stay close and offer support. They asked how I was and didn’t listen for the answer.
That really makes my blood boil. I felt like spitting in their eyes. Of course I didn’t. Convention compels them to sound more caring than they are and compels me to act like I believe them, but today I had no time for the farce.
It may all be relative, but I’ve got to like the truer version of what is and what was a bit too much to dive too deep into this nonsense. There was nothing I could lean on. I wanted to break the glass, throw the cake and say something real, something rude, but my tongue is tied up too. I suppose that makes me as fake as they are.
I have felt a long way from anger lately. I thought it was one of those things that passed after the first few weeks without you, a black beast that rode me for a while and then jumped off and ran off in search of someone else. I thought it was a stroppy- teen stage of grief I’d mellowed past, but today it was back with claws and teeth. It seems it likes my company better than I’d thought.
I hid from all my anger in your room. I found tears and the safety of something real inside myself there amongst the layers of dust and old receipts. Your jackets hanging on the back of the door filled me with a yawning sense of the enormity of what I’ve lost. You were a man that filled clothes, kept more pens that you needed, filed badly, collected every scrawly sketch I ever did and guarded your space like a lion – and you are no longer here.
You will not come back and put the rug down right and curse me for messing with your stuff. I really wish you would bab. I know you would if you could.
Most days I think I am in tune with my emotions, that I am letting myself feel and process and mostly I think I am. There are days when I think I would ace grief if it was a class, that you’d be proud of me. I am finding a lot of myself in this and I am finding a lot that is wonderful.
But then there are moments when I get just a glimpse of the whole. I see the height of the mountain I am scooping at and I know I only have a teaspoon and I just want to quit. I don’t think I can shift that much dark dirt to get back to a clear view of the sun. I don’t know if I can get past losing so many different yous, so much of you.
There is despair in even a little knowledge of the whole enormity of loss. I think it is that sight, that sense of how far there is to go, that makes people slump, sink and give in. But I will keep on moving mud, I’m not quitting and I will not make myself into a quitter.
I say it a thousand times to thin air – but I love you.