The older I get, the more I become convinced that I have learned very little, in my time on this earth. Nine years ago, my father died – and in the months and years that have intervened since that cold, windy November day, I have grappled endlessly with the concept of grief and I have found my comprehension lacking.
A week goes by, then a month, then a year. You tick off the anniversaries and you judge yourself by the milestones: Surely it’ll make sense by the end of the first year. You’ll be back to normal by the second anniversary, right? Or maybe the third. You’ll write that book you promised yourself you’d write. You’ll fall in love. You’ll settle down. You’ll get your shit together.
Except you don’t. Not really. Grief never really goes away – it just retreats to the tall grass and stalks you from a distance.
You get used to it, sure. You create rituals for yourself and then you cling to those observances even when impulses that drove their creation start to fade. You express uncomfortable emotions publicly, both for the edification of others who think of themselves as less “brave” or “honest” than you and because you need to imbue your own experience of loss with a sense meaning.
You try to find solace in the embrace of the world. In the glow of accomplishment. The burdens of duty. In novel diversions. In the embrace of a kind woman. But in the end, there’s only a cold November wind, blowing through the tall grass.
Wonderwall a playlist.