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On Grief

*Disclaimer: This, my work website is possibly not the right home for this piece of writing. It's an intensely personal piece of writing. But I felt compelled to write it, and compelled to put it somewhere. And I've never been good at boundaries really. My work and personal lives melt into one another constantly. So I'm putting it here. Because when you're your own boss that's one of the perks. It's up to me. And also, I've sort of not got anywhere else to put it.


On Grief:

Today I woke and my eyes were wet.

It is not your birthday. It is not the anniversary of your death. There is nothing particular about today. Not that my conscious memory can remember anyway.

But today my whole body is demanding that I think of you. Driving all of me to remember you. And I wonder if somehow today is a significant day that my body has remembered and my mind forgotten.

for some time, alone this morning, I cry angry tears. Angry that today I am overwhelmed by grief. Unexpectedly. That it has woken me from slumber aggressively and inconveniently and catapulted me back to that deep inconsolable place. When yesterday I was just fine. Good. Great actually. Really great.

I’m angry. And I’m scared. Because the way we talk and we think about grief is so finite, but the experience is so permanent, and often overwhelming, and so it becomes wrapped up with feelings of guilt and self-doubt.

Because it’s been 2 years Pip. And everyone dies eventually Pip. And it wasn’t your child, or a partner, or a friend at a tragically young age Pip. It was your parents. And that’s the natural order of things Pip. And of course It’s sad, but it’s simply life walking it’s full circumference. Pip.

And I want to say: I’ll not be doing any work today. I’ll not be coming into the office. I’ll not actually be a person today. I’ll not be here. I’m only liquid today.

Because today, today I need to stay still. I need to opt out. To vanish. I need to cry and cry and cry until there’s no water left in my body, and it stops functioning. I literally need to dry out. Dry all this emotion out.

But 'I’m not coming in today because my parents died 2 years ago.' Well it doesn’t quite cut it.

So I sort of force it back down. I try and put the lid back on the box. I Halt the drying process. And now I really feel all the water in me; they say about 60% of our bodies are water. And now all of me feels like liquid. Sloshing about. Nothing about me is solid. I’m a liquid built elusion of a human being. If you touch me the elusion will cascade into a big puddle on the floor. If I make any moves too strongly, too certainly, I’ll start the cascade myself.

And for the rest of the day I move through the world as this liquid elusion of myself. Speaking short sentences. Not quite meeting your eye. Passing. Passing as a person. A walking puddle. Defences fully erected so no-one can accidentally re-start the drying process. So I can get through.

And in a few days I’ll be fine again. Good actually, really quite great. I’ll feel the substance return to my body. Slowly becoming solid once again, the water in me swirling into its normal bodily functions. Doing whatever it is all that water does in our bodies (when it’s not holding my grief).

And I’ll have interactions that will pull me right up and out and back on my feet.

Logic. Awareness. Self-awareness. Inevitability. Life.

And I’ll be fine again. Good actually. Really quite great.

But I know the liquid days will come again. And I know I can’t stop them. Because grief is permanent and I think we should probably talk about it more. Because one day I might need to see the cycle through and totally dry out. And that might take a while.

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