Of Grief and Grieving

Your heart will eventually break. Some day, you will feel so much pain that you won't want to feel anything anymore. This type of pain does't occur after a breakup. It doesn't occur after you've failed to wake up on time for your midterm. And it doesn't occur when that promotion that you wanted went to the least deserving person. No. This is the type of pain that only occurs after the loss of someone permanent. Your mother (you were 5). Your brother (you were 10). Your step-mother (you were 22). 

They're all gone from this world. No sports games. No graduations. No weddings. No questions to be answered. Your father will become your burden. Your brothers will become your children. This is the type of pain that most people can't fathom (and they'll tell you so). This is the type of pain that you will stop trying to explain. This is the type of pain that will separate you from the world. It's the same type of pain that you'll try and distract yourself from.

It will perplex you that no matter how many of these distractions you give yourself (and trust me, you will give yourself plenty of heartfelt distractions) you won't be able to block the pain. You won't be able to get this feeling from your mind.

No matter how much you drink, no matter how many hours you work, no matter how late you stay up and study, no matter how many men you bring into your bed, no matter how many times you put that deceitful smile on your face when people ask you how you're doing, there will be nothing to take away this deafening pain.

And then, eventually, you'll get used to the pain. You won't "get over it" and you'll never feel whole again. This is where you learn the true meaning of permanent. You'll carry it with you forever. But eventually, one day, you will decide to start living again.

It will be awkward. It will be uncomfortable.

You will go out to dinner with Old Friends. You know, the one or two friends that weren't turned away by your path of destruction. You will try and remember how you used to laugh when you were with them. That deep and delightful belly laugh. Carefree. Blissfully ignorant. You will learn to fake this laugh. (Open mouth. Make noise come out. Throw back head. Smile. Be sure to make them see you smile).

After some time, your Old Friends will grow tired of your melancholy ways. They'll be sure to grow tired of you within the appropriate time frame. Not too soon after they hear the news of death, because that would make them look bad. And you will be confused by their disappearance.

Oh? Oh, you thought they could handle your manic texts well into the morning? You thought they actually wanted a frank reply when they asked you how you were "holding up"? Well, they didn't. They wanted the reassurance for themselves that you weren't going to take your life in their apartment (that would make resigning the lease much less likely to occur). So, overtime, they'll grow tired of this New You.

You will make New Friends. You know, the friends that you meet at the new job that you were forced to get. You loved your old job. But then, you came back to work and you couldn't take the looks from your coworkers. The sorrow. The pity. And the tiptoeing around. No one will treat you the same way. So, you will be forced to get a new job, and New Friends. And then you'll be out for drinks with these New Friends. But none of it will feel the same. You'll wish that they knew the Real You. The fun you. The intelligent you. The brave you.

The you that had confidence and sass. The you that threw house parties that were talked about for weeks. The you that used to light up a room. The you that glided through school. The you that was charming and beautiful in an effortless way.

But this Old You doesn't exist—you thought this You was gone. But this You is back from its intermission. New and improved! Or, at least, this is what you'll reassuringly tell yourself. You will try to find some wisdom within this experience.

Your daily mantra will be: "Everything happens for a reason".

You will try and appreciate what others call your strength. Others admire it. They don't know how you can endure so much (and they will remind you of this everyday). You'll smile, and simply nod when others tell you they're "Sorry for your loss."

But, back to this New You. This viking-strength you. The Gold Medalist for the Emotional Olympics. Let's pretend that you're happy with the New You. This New You that is admired for their strength, maturity, and wisdom. Oh, nice to meet you! This New You has some of the same quantities as the Old You. You'll still be able to enthrall a room full of strangers. You'll still be intoxicating like a drug, but there will be none of the innocent charm. There will be no more effortless ignorance.

This. This right now. This New You. This New You will begin to bore you. You can't say what you want (no one wants to hear about how you'd rather hide under the covers for weeks at a time). You can't behave how you would like to (no, it's not appropriate to lay down on the floor in the middle of the coffee shop when you get overwhelmed by the barista's questions). You can only talk about safe topics. Amusing topics. Ha ha ha. Look at how funny the Depressed Girl can be.

You can only talk about that guy who had his head between your legs last night. Your new job is driving you nuts. That embarrassing episode in the bar last week where you ran into that professor (you know, the one that wants to be cool, but has a wife and kid at home that he doesn't think you know about). These shallow stories will become your alibi because you can't speak the truth. You can not. That would beinappropriate and it would make people feel uncomfortable. When you speak the truth you know that you will open up the floodgates to that ocean. You know, the one that's inside of you. Oh, oh yes! You didn't forget about that one.

Anyway, once you've discovered this New You, you'll have to create a background story. Make the people believe you care. The Old You cared about things (family, friends, school, work, painting, boys. remember this order. That's the order that you used to be able to recite from your heart when you did truly care).

This new, adventurous, caring you. This New You will try and give the Old You some advice. No, this is how you really dance in the kitchen while cooking. This is how you're supposed to brush your teeth. This is the appropriate pressure that you apply when you hug people goodbye (remember, this New You strains to please others). This is how often you have to shower to please these people (only depressed people don't shower).

This relearning. This pretending. All of this will go on for quite some time. 

Until one day, it won't.


Photo courtesy of deviantart.com

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