Monday, February 20 Writing group:
I want to write about grief. Hard to get into. ask my grief to speak.
Grief, what do you have to say?
So deep and old. So long ago. Grief never allowed, never assuaged. “I cried and cried and nobody came.” This is a baby speaking, a baby left alone calling for help. and there was no answer. Silence is painful. Silence is scary. What am I grieving for? What I should have had and didn’t get. But how do I know what I should have had if I never get it? It’s not like when you have something and lose it. You know what you’ve lost. There’s a hole in your heart. So it’s possible to grieve. It’s imperative to grieve, it’s unhealthy to not grieve — but you need the help and support of other people. When you were a child and cried you were sent to your room. You learned that it was not OK to cry. When you were a teenager, you were able to cry alone, when a romance went wrong. One time you had a date with someone and he didn’t show up. You cried, and then you found yourself dancing. I think you were actually angry — but as a woman you are not allowed to express anger — but the dancing expressed your feelings and you ended up happy. Much later, you remembered that and thought that you should have built into your life as a technique you could use when you needed it.
But what are you grieving now? I’m grieving what’s happening to the elephants, and the whales, and the dolphins. what’s happening to the oceans filling with plastic and the animals killed by tangles of plastic. I’m grieving all the black people killed by police, all the people who aren’t being paid enough so they have to choose between food and medical expenses. That’s so wrong. I don’t feel grief I feel anger, it’s not OK that greedy rich people have set things up that way. Then I start to feel hopeless and helpless.
Then I look at the last few months of my life. Struggling with low thyroid, damage to my ribs, no energy, needing to exercise, struggling with a deadly combination of early trauma and the social distancing of COVID.
And the whole thing about asking for help. It is so hard. My parents made me wrong for asking for help, but even before that, my non-verbal cries for help were often unanswered. It was right at the beginning I learned not to ask for anything.
NOTE: “What I should have had and didn’t get” is Francis Weller’s Fourth Gate of Grief