I hate to bring it up again. I feel that grief is mostly all I talk about now. It’s what I think about a lot. It’s here with me all of the time, a constant companion. I keep thinking that maybe the most intense part of grieving is behind us or behind me, but more and more I am beginning to believe that grief does not last a certain amount of time, nor do I believe it happens in stages. In fact, what we call the stages of grief were, I believe, originally put forth as a way of understanding how someone would respond to and process the news of a terminal diagnosis. Not quite the same thing as grief, when one is referring to coping with the death of a loved one.
I believe grief simply, and yet not so simply, is. A loss remains a loss forever, and somehow we weave it into the fabric of who we are. Like all other experiences, good or bad, joyful or traumatic, grief becomes a part of our being. It becomes a part of our narrative and works its way into our psyche, our neuro-pathways. Hell, I believe it becomes part of our cellular structure. It becomes encoded into our very existence. It is everywhere and nowhere.
Perhaps it was back-to-school shopping, the changing of the seasons, the end of summer, the going back to school, or the fact that life dares to go on, even after a part of you, someone whom you love with your whole self, dies, that triggered the intense hurt that my little guy felt for several nights in a row. A hurt that would wrack his little body with sobs that wouldn’t stop until he’d finally succumb to exhaustion. I haven’t recovered from the sleep deprivation or the emotional weight of it all. It has been exhausting.
A change of scenery can be so powerful. It seems to light up entirely different parts of the brain and bring different parts of us to life. The summer crowd is gone, and on this rather chilly and cloudy September day, there are few people on the beach. We did not come to the Jersey shore to swim. The lifeguards are no longer on duty and swimming would not be advisable. We came down because my youngest wanted to fly a kite, and the beach seems like a great place to fly one. Friends of ours loaned us their shore home, and here we are, blessed and running along the sand, trying to get a kite to stay in the air. Perhaps it’s too blustery, it just kept whipping around frantically, but there was so much laughter, just the same.
And all I can do is think that he will never see this moment in their lives. He will never hear their boyish laughter. He will never see Cormac’s skinny little legs running through the sand. He will never see Aidan ducking and dodging from the insanely flying kite, and hear his hysterical comments, as the kite dived at us all. He said he never knew that kite flying was a extreme sport, and it made me laugh so hard, as it caught be in the neck. I swear I think it left a welt. After two hours we were hungry and tired and thinking of little. Our minds needed this trip.
Yet, I can feel his absence. I wonder if they can. I don’t know whether to hope so or hope not, but I do know that I am so grateful for their sweet laughter. Tonight there’s laughter and not tears.
I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to write here. Writing at the beach. Ahhh. Take your notebook with you everywhere. Write, not just at home, but wherever you go. It feels different in each place.