Grief is a good thing: it helps us cope by keeping our loved ones alive in our hearts.
It is a river that ebbs and flows.
There are days when the water flows so high, I can feel your presence next to me, your voice in my head, your hand on mine. On those days, I feel like the water will breach my walls and I will drown in emotion, crumple into a ball of loss, and cry out for you. Other days, it ebbs so low that I admit it: you don’t even cross my mind.
It has been five months since you left us, five months since I dreamt of you young again and dancing with your husband, sitting in a cafe with your daughter and catching up on the past 25 years, five months since I saw your smile and accepted that from that day forward you would live only in my memories.
In those early days, I would forget you were gone.
I still remember waking up from a nap after your funeral, and wanting to call you to see what you thought of it.
Slowly, I got used to living my daily routine without you. I stopped missing our daily phone calls on my way home from work. I started to like being able to do anything I wanted on Sundays, when I used to visit you. I made it through Christmas and New Year’s relatively unscathed, and through the ups and downs of life without you to comfort me.
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, there you are.
The other day, I rinsed out an empty yogurt container and reused it to store cheese. I smiled at myself as I placed it next to the one that still had yogurt in it, remembering how frustrated I would get trying to find items in your fridge.
Your hair colour was on sale at the drug store the other day, and my first thought was to call you and see if you needed some.
I went to the grocery store that has the thick plastic bags you like, and was already folding them and putting them aside for you before I realized what I was doing.
It’s in those moments that the flow breaks my walls, the tears fall, and the grief overwhelms me. They come out of nowhere and they pass just as quickly. They are the moments when my memories of you are still so vivid, I grieve your absence in my reality.
In time, I know these moments will be fewer and farther between. The ebbs will outweigh the flows and the memories will grow more distant. The thing is: I don’t know if I want them to. As painful as feeling your loss can be, not feeling you at all seems infinitely worse.
Maybe that is why grief is non-linear: because we don’t want it to be. We don’t want to forget our loved ones. We don’t want their memory to fade, so we keep them alive by remembering them not just with our mind but with our body and soul. We choose to continue to feel their loss as a way of keeping them alive in our hearts.
I don’t ever want to look at Nice’n’Easy 106A without thinking of you.
Author: Ismene Tsaconakos
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman