Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.

15 Jul

She tells me she’s moving.

I ask why, brightly, curious. “This a good move? A happy move?”

She pauses, one of those pregnant ones that make me mentally scurry into a corner in preparation. You never know what might come at you, abuse or death or sadness or just plain old nothing.

“Well. It’s kinda both.” And from her mouth it all tumbles. “Well, my daughter died of cancer years ago and left my grandson (he was only 8, he’s 14 now, nearly) and his father has a new job and travels and he needs me, he really really needs me and I’ve been back and forth so much and I decided well…he asked me, Nana, why don’t you stay? and he needs me. He really needs me.”

I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks before I realized I was crying, as I stumbled around my tongue the “I’m sorry” that couldn’t possibly convey the depth of my apology, the volume of my understanding as those terrible years flickered past in my mind, my father diving into work, then drink, cold for self preservation, the loneliness in a house of broken people, the itching wound that grief becomes.

“I’m crying. ” I told her. “I’m so sorry…I lost my Mom young, I know I know…how amazing you are to be there for him.”

And then she broke, and the shuddering horror of her loss, of seeing the eyes of her lost daughter in her lost grandson, of being helpless before the frivolity and randomness of life, and the sobs escaped and I could feel the coldness in her own space, enveloping and rigid, protective.

“How he does need you.” I echoed, wanting to make it better, wanting to tell her she would make it better for him, being there, filling that sinkhole of a heart with something more than a gravesite and dead flowers. Trying to convey she would make him whole again.

I placed her on hold. She disconnected, off again into the ether.

***

I think I’m over it. I think, “1989, that’s FOREVER ago and I’m not a kid anymore and it doesn’t hurt, not really.” and then I speak with someone and the pain is brushed with steel wool and opened, a reminder, a visceral emotion bleeding. I can feel it again, that 11 year old girlwoman who stood next to a corpse and said “I love you.” The girl in her room, heaving at the idea of losing her other parent, of being totally, irrevocably alone in the world, and the walls she brought up around her tattered heart.

It will never be over. I will always feel a stab and a twitch where she was, that spot my mother occupied. I will always feel that fresh hell when someone else tells my story in their words, their life. It will always return, even when I’m on my own death bed, sated with life and content to leave be. She will still be gone, torn too quickly.

And I still won’t have the words, even then.

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11 Responses to “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”

  1. Bon July 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    your words leave me wordless, too.

    but i’m crying. and i hope that lady heard you, even tho you didn’t know quite what to say.

  2. Deer Baby July 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    I often don’t know what to say when I read. But just to say I did read and you moved me. And I bet she understood.

  3. IfByYes July 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    “Of course, in my mind, I know she will never come back. But I still remember. Many times in my life I remember. And it is always like this.

    In my heart, there is a little room. And in that room is a little girl, still six years old. She is always waiting, an achey-hoping, hoping beyond reason. She is sure the door will fly open any minute now. And sure enough, it does, and her mother runs in. And the pain in the little girl’s heart is instantly forgotten, gone. Because her mother is lifting her up, high in the air, laughing and crying, laughing and crying”

    -Amy Tan

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and your pain.

  4. sweetsalty kate July 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    I always seem to read you when it’s late and dark and I go to bed with your beautiful words spinning around in my head. xo

  5. Cheeky Monkey July 16, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    Haunting. I ache for that unfillable hole.

  6. Debbie, i obsess July 16, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    *mute, dumb silence*

    Yeah, I can’t possibly honor your story with anything remotely honorable. I’ll just let you know I was here by depositing my jaw-bone on your blog stoop.

    Hugs.

  7. afteriris July 16, 2010 at 3:58 am #

    Not depressing. Not at all. Sad, though, of course. I’m heartbroken reading this:

    ‘It will never be over. I will always feel a stab and a twitch where she was, that spot my mother occupied. I will always feel that fresh hell when someone else tells my story in their words, their life. It will always return, even when I’m on my own death bed, sated with life and content to leave be. She will still be gone, torn too quickly.’

  8. hodgepodgeandstrawberries July 16, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    There is no one else who robs me of the ability to comment like you – and yet I can’t just read this and leave without saying anything.

    I hope that woman heard you, too.

  9. thordora July 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Thanks all. I wish, sometimes, I could just be more than a mere voice on a phone. I hope that once in awhile, I really am.

  10. NTE July 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    My grandmother turned 93 yesterday, and she lost her mother when she was in the second grade. That really is forever ago: I still see that look on her face when she talks about her, that lost, stunned ache.

    I don’t think it’s supposed to go away.
    But I definitely think that you have the words. Yours are so powerful. (I came via Five Star Friday, and am touched by what you’ve written.)

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