What happens when your child must bear witness to your shattering grief? How do you parent? How do you narrate your own undoing, while coming undone, and trying to model healing? And remembering the sunblock.
I am unable to write about or describe the pain I am in, having lost my remarkable younger brother last week. I cannot approach that. I cannot follow the Buddhist teaching of "leaning into the sharp points." Not even close. But I can - and somehow feel compelled to - describe what that pain looks like while I'm parenting. I guess writers write, even through the darkest places, maybe especially through them.
I can't stay home. I can't see anybody I know, risk having to conduct any human interaction. I can only be with my daughter, doing things. How about buying things? She suggests a trip to Target. We haven't been there in so long. We drive to Target. I cry most of the way.
Leah: Mama, are you still in grief?
Me: Yes, sweetie. I am.
Leah: What does that mean?
Me: It means I am really, really sad, that I am having a hard time staying focused on things, that I am crying a lot, that I am thinking a lot about Uncle Squish and missing him terribly. It's completely normal what I'm feeling, how I'm acting. I am not mad at you; it has nothing to do with you. I'm just fogged up with grief. It's like being half asleep, but instead of that sleeping feeling, it's just an overwhelming sadness that makes me cry instead of nap.
Leah: How long will you be in grief?
Me: Well, some part of me will be grieving the loss for the rest of my life. But as time passes, more of me will come out of the fog and will be more fun again, laugh loud again, be driving you crazy again.
Leah: The rest of your life?
Me: That's the deal.
Leah: Am I in grief?
Me: You certainly are. We all feel it and handle it differently.
Leah: I want a new purse.