This is grief, for now not ever

I rock back and forth, arms pinned in close, left hand in fist on my sternum, right hand clasped over it.

This is grief.

This is grief with an open heart.

This is grief with an open heart and shredded skin.

When someone needs only blow on you and the tears start to fall.

When simple kindness sends you into sobs trying to draw breath, doubled over at the waist and flapping hands in the air as though you could take off and leave it all on earth.

You can’t. I can’t. Fixing it is fruitless.

Loss begets loss. A broken date with a friend, a no show from a tradie, sunglasses misplaced all end in rage or overwhelming tears you never knew you had.

Anger sits like iron armour in the heart, designed to get you through those minutes and hours and days ahead where fight and flight sit side by side and you argue with or flee from those you love and strangers in shops.

So you sink into the friends who say “be messy, it’s ok, I don’t need you to be anything other than you” and run from those who want you to sparkle and shine and pull up your chin.

Bed sounds nice, but that requires stillness and stillness is where the rabbit holes lie after dark, ready to pull you down into a maze of burrows until day light scratches at the window, and you wake worn out from all the running.

Food looks nice, but food sits untouched on the plate and fills the bin week after week.

What used to provide comfort provides pain for it just sits there under the skin and all you long for is a long hug wrapped in the arms of someone you love and who loves you back, a touch of milky tea with a spoonful of sugar and a chest to lie on as you drift off to sleep.

Instead I rock back and forth, arms pinned in close, left hand in fist on my sternum, right hand clasped over it.

This is my grief. In only this moment.

It is not permanent, the same way feelings are not final, they are fluid. Grief, like connections, ebb and flow and wobble.

Laughter still sits there next to pain holding hands, joy is still found in the depths where sorrow has made a bed, you can’t have a shadow without a light.

One moment weeping from the heart lost in death, next moment laughing from the gut and embracing all that life brings. And so it goes, on repeat, until the sorrow settles and light grows from its soil back out to play again.

Lean-in to the grief when it consumes you, howl in the car, weep in aisle six, take it to bed with curtains shut tight, watch Netflix for weeks if you have to, it may be a minute, an hour, a day, it may be a month. Don’t wallow in the sorrow, just accept it as it is, for fighting it, like fixing it, is fruitless – it will get you in the end so let it get you in the beginning and save yourself the later trouble.

No need to call for it, for it will always find you. Just live your moments in your days and ride the waves. Some will be filled with stormy winds and violent tides, others will be quiet waves that touch and tickle your sandy feet. Every crescent, every whirlpool, every salty caress is here to cleanse you until you emerge shifted and changed by saltwater sobs now long gone.

Life is loss, but life is also big love when you let it, knowing the two shall always meet.

Speaker of ElephantTruths, teller of ElephantTales. Author, writer, journalist, blogger, producer, humorist.

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