“this is the wavelength which connects us with dead men and the dawning of new beings not yet come to light. “

1 May

On the bus I pass a bridge with that unfortunate year chiseled into it’s side.

1989.

The year things stopped.

As always when faced with that year, I’m amazed. That something began when something else ended. That something was lasting. That someone was born, even on the day she left us. I stare hard at the bridge, wondering what blessed it with creation.

Irrational I know. But I can hardly be the only person who counts lost years, the years hence in things, in births, in incredulous “how can someone born then be ready for university?”

It doesn’t seem a lifetime already. Wasn’t it just 2000 a minute ago? Wasn’t I just in high school, dropping out of university a year ago? Weren’t those trees just planted, the lawn tended?

Shouldn’t everything else have stopped as well?

That’s what slaps me most of all. The fence that year provides, the utter confusion at the fact that while everything came to a shattering halt for me that year, other people moved on. While I changed, when I was changed, others simply continued, unaware, living. I gawk because I forget that while my life has been centered around a loss, other’s haven’t been, or have perhaps, and I just can’t see it.

Grief is transparent. We can walk through it, talk to it, make love to it. But it’s still there, like the air we breathe, the air sticky sweet around us on a summer night. I can’t see it hovering, unless I look, unless I stop and take the time to see that everyone, or nearly everyone has a year branded in the space above them-1989 or 2005 or 1974. But it shimmers so, becomes fairy like so much so that you barely hear it’s giggle above the tears, you barely see her for the stoicness of her owner. You have to see, really see, and ask, really ask. Then it becomes clear, the words tumbling free.

“I lost….They died….I hurt….I miss…..”

The human condition, right? Suffering, pain, grief. Joy being so sparse and brief sometimes. We should adjust and move on, get over it.

Get over the label grief brands us with, a date seared into our brains. Get over the alteration of ourselves, us at our core beings. We are changed by death, something shaved off the sides. You’re never the same. Your giggles turn to bubbles as if you’re underwater and lost. Your hopes fade into the sides of buildings which are there until they aren’t, and you notice in passing, 3 years later. Bridges and age of majority dates take new meaning.

Everything you should have, suddenly has new meaning, or no meaning.

Spring is supposed to be about renewal, about celebrating an opening earth, warm and welcoming. But for several of us, for different reasons, it’s not. Spring has a shadow behind it,  a mystery reminder that what giveth also taketh. That newness is only at the expense of last year’s left over crop. For some the ache is new, throbbing, still leaking sap. For others, myself, it’s an old wound that aches from time to time, but is mostly healed. Each of us those, is irrevocably branded by these events.

We’ll forever watch the sidewalks for our loved ones, stare out of the corner of our eyes for they who look like someone should. But it won’t be them. It will never be them.

*****************************

As a teenager, I dreamt I was chasing my mother through a store, her back to me, her blue purple coat standing out against the endless bottle of shampoo. Around and around racks we went, my voice calling for her, echoing back at me. She refused to turn and acknowledge me, and allowed me to chase her instead.

She disappeared from my sight, leaving me wailing and defeated.

 

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7 Responses to ““this is the wavelength which connects us with dead men and the dawning of new beings not yet come to light. “”

  1. karen May 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    I cannot get over how you can honestly type the very things I think about my mother so perfectly when even I cannot put my own feelings into words !

  2. Marcy May 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    I do not like wailing, defeated.

    My deep dream isn’t about the same event yours is — mine involved trying to get out of a psych ward but being caught by the orderlies just as the doors shut before I could slip out, and dumped in a room of mindless zombie-ish patients eating popcorn and watching tv, my tears explained away as a reaction to the Jell-O not being the color I’d wanted.

    But that wail? That defeat? Yeah.

  3. marcelarhodus May 2, 2008 at 5:59 am #

    can I send you a hug from here?
    I so feel your post.

  4. Cheryl May 2, 2008 at 8:06 am #

    Your words are perfect for me today. This is the one year anniversary of my father’s death from cancer. I struggle with how to observe this date. I am tired of being sad, tired of dealing with my mother’s unending grief, my daughter’s grief, wanting to move on. I miss him with all my heart but know that he too would grow tired of all this suffering. Our family has no religious traditions to fall back on, struggling to figure this all out on our own. Some people say we should do something special today to remember him…..I think of him everyday, that we need to gather together to say goodbye……I did that the day he died, that maybe I’m the one who hasn’t dealt with my grief because I’m not falling apart……If I did, there would be no one to pick up the pieces so that is a luxury I can not afford. I’m still here and have a life to live and can not allow myself to be defined by loss, even of someone I loved as much as my father….Wishing comfort and healing to you and all of us who struggle with loss (is there anyone who doesn’t?)

  5. thordora May 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    Im’ so sorry Cheryl…there’s no easy answer. I know when things would be bad, I’d try and do new stuff so I could create new memories instead of trying to make the old ones come back.

  6. Bon May 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    you have such a precise way of describing how grief works…how it marks us and stays with us. you honour grief – or rather, you honour the grieving and the grieved – beautifully.

    and this post came at a time when it particularly hit me, so much that it’s taken me two days to just say, i am here and reading, and i appreciate your words.

  7. nursemyra May 6, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    such a sad and lovely post. eight months now since stephen died and the grief is still ever present and raw. i think it will always be with me though I hope I find a way of holding it that is less painful as time goes on

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