If grief is all the love one has but cannot give, then i have been grieving for a long time. interesting how people think that for grief to occur there has to have taken place a physical death. but no. death is all around in various forms. the way we forget, misplace and lose people, memories and things is also death. i have been grieving even before i knew what grief really was. i feel like i have attended hundreds of my own funerals. the way people do not remember me at all or the way they remember me in such a different way they may as well be talking about some stranger and not me. or the way i remember myself in the past and how i cannot recognize the smiling face in my past photos. or the way you used to say my name with an affectionate intonation and now my name sounds as strange as a chant when you say it. bold of me to assume you remember my name. i have heard a thousand of my eulogies from different mouths. different ways people remember the me they used to know who is now dead. how strange how people remember me. i do not know whether it is me they actually remember or the idea of who i was. who can i blame if they remember some surreal or lofty idea of who i used to be. is it possible that i, not being able to even know who i am, disguised myself that i finally became a stranger to my own self.
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves. -Francois De La Rochefoucauld
Grief is an amputation but hope is incurable haemophilia. You bleed and bleed and bleed. – David Mitchell
i have been grieving for a long time. for a lot of people. all the selves i could have become if things had gone differently. for a lot of things. my treasured items that i love so much but cannot use them. why. because i have no place of my own. i move from the small town i was born and brought up in to this big city. i have left one of my selves there and it dare not come with me here. a severe severing of bloody ties. an amputation. the phantom self hurts so bad. i dress in black to mourn for that me. i am here in this place surrounded by a part of my family. and i am okay and happy except i am not. i am grieving for forgotten dreams and expectations that will never be met. another amputation. two years ago i had my own flat for a few months and i thought it was paradise. a chance to plant myself on this planet and hope to grow into something i would be happy to water. then i had to move out. an amputation. a painful one actually because i did not see it coming. i doubt i ever see these things coming. so all my things, the ones that gave me shelter and relief. a sense of sanity and stability gone. more like packed into cardboard boxes and suitcases. they carry bits of my soul, heart, mind and even memories. no wonder my belongings are always heavy. they carry me just as much as i carry them. i miss them even though i can see them. i cannot use them. i am not at home. i grieve and grieve for them, for us, for how differently things would have turned out if someone trusted me a bit more with my body and its needs.
It is too heavy says the canvas. you lack restraint.
i was sleeping in whiteness, drifts of snow, and you woke me
and told me your dream, my blank face upturned listening.
you came to me while we were sleeping, we were both sleeping,
and you asked me to hold this for you. i am holding this for you. – Richard Siken
memories are always sad, i read somewhere. maybe the true trick is in how we remember things not how they actually happened. we are living in the present guided by nothing but smoke and mirrors. i am haunted by memories, lord. my eyes are often swollen and sometimes bloody red. i try to look at my face in the mirror but the light is too bright. none of the features seem right. the body is something soft. clay, i hear. soft clay. and yet look at all the things it is carrying. memories. i am haunted by them. they have a home here. all beautiful ones and all sad ones. i carry them. i am naive in how i believe in permanence when everything is flux, passing away, transient. i am surprised when people leave. i am in shock when they turn away. you would think by now i should have got used to this. i see things differently. it is like i live in another dimension or my brain is wired differently. and to explain this, words completely fail me. i love slowly but for a long long time. even when the people have left. even when all that remains is ash. i tell myself that i will rebuild right where the land was laid to waste. hope, incurable haemophilia. i bleed and bleed and bleed. how do i say this. once i have loved you it is nearly impossible for me to stop it. i might stay away. you might leave but somewhere i still love you. this is why my body is heavy. why i am often tired. a planet without an atmosphere, to borrow Tartt’s words. to love someone is like to have formed a bloody bond with them. my English class had read Macbeth in the fall, but only now was it starting to make sense why Lady Macbeth could never scrub the blood off her hands, why it was still there after she washed it away. – Theo
i am still scrubbing memories off my skin but their pigments still remain.
it is not the weight you carry
but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it is all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not,
put it down
– Mary Oliver
if grief is all the love one has but cannot give, then i am full of it.