Waking Up With Grief

That brief, initial moment of peaceful ignorance allowed by the heart, sleep doing its job with aplomb, taking away not only the unnecessary memories that would drive us crazy if we held onto them, the little things, the math and the turns and the street signs and the pleasantries, but also removing this one memory, the only memory, the only important thing: the loss. As though sleep rescinded the loss.


But the impossible cannot become possible in the immediate when the impossible is necessary for the immediate to be at all.


The shadowy reminder beginning to emerge, a hand reaching through the veil, opening the path of the neurons that hold the story at bay. The dawning of reality like gasoline filling the torso.


The dry-eyed shock that you have to live another day like this. The realization that you can. The knowledge that you must. The waiting while the heart catches up to the mind. Breathing deeply into the stomach as the sorrow begins to rise. The weeping pleas, exhausted, desperate, the weak effort to birth them, heave them into being, too spent to give them their full due.


The moment of sitting up. The dizzy confusion from a night of dreams, reminders, symbols, visions, good-byes. Hand cooling the head, standing then, going through the motions of what was once your normal.


Breathing. Asking for help: help me with this. Help me with this. Receiving it in the many myriad miraculous ways that help inevitably arrives upon request.


Doing a thing to love yourself. Taking a bath. Drinking water. Trying to eat. Holding your chest. Doing the best you can.


Grief seizing you as you remember some routine you’ll never see again, some behavior you’ll never respond to again, some hope you’ll never cling to again. The heart pounding ferociously all through the body, all the way down to the toes, feeling it pump the blood that once flowed while the one who is gone was with you. Blood that recognized the one who is gone by the love the heart spread with each beat. That blood still pumping, still sending love to the new form the lost one takes.


Watching things pass by as you do what you must do, regardless of what you’ve lost. The world does not stop. Staring out windows of cars or trains, walking and feeling the air pass through your lungs, air that the lost one will never breathe again. Breathing more deeply. Asking for help.


Signs: the songs played on violins that are meant only for you, the white dove landing at your feet, the words of honor that bring you hope again. These signs you may have missed had the humility wrought by deep, deep pain not made itself known.


Humility that allows you to see, hear and feel only the truth. Humility the only gift you find in you to receive, the only gift that doesn’t seem like a betrayal. Humility that softens the regret, softens the blame, sends love to the lost one and the ones still here.


Breathing. Asking for help. Knowing true love in these moments of great suffering.


Gratitude that you are here to suffer at all.