Welcome to the first installment of Grief Talk Tuesdays, a new weekly feature here on ZenBagLady.
Why Tuesday? It was on a Tuesday that my husband died in 1983, so in his memory, I’m dedicating Tuesdays to all things grief, including book reviews, links to recommended readings and podcasts, guest posts, and other grief-related topics. (If you’d like to read my past posts regarding grief, scroll down to the categories bar on the right and select Grief.)
For this first Grief Talk Tuesday, I’ve included a short piece I wrote on Sunday (Nov. 28) in Diane Zinna’s weekly Grief Writing group. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, if you are grieving any type of loss, there is a place for you in this group. Writing out feelings, especially the griefy kind, in a safe, non-judgmental environment, has been an emotional life saver for me on several Sundays this year. Diane is kind and encouraging, her voice soft and reassuring. She’s the perfect host for this difficult type of writing. Click here for more information.
Sunday’s writing prompt was inspired by the recent Stephen Colbert interview with Andrew Garfield. Garfield (who plays Jonathan Larson in Tick Tick Boom, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, now on Netflix) is beautifully honest as he discusses the death of his mother, and you’ll feel his words to the deepest parts of your heart.
The prompt was, What parts of grief do you never want to lose? Here was my response.
There’s a section of abandoned rail line that expands over the Clarion River and into a mountain tunnel. Just inside the mouth of the tunnel, it is twenty degrees colder than the outside, but that’s not what chills you; it’s the wind that blows all around you, like ghosts flying out of the darkness.
I am not afraid of those ghosts. They chill me, yes, but I’m not afraid.
My person died when he was 24 and I was 19. Now, he is 61 and I am 58. He’s aged with me, grown up with me. If I’d let him die when he died, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I like who I am today, even when I’m driving and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” plays on the radio and I cry so hard that I have to pull over. I welcome that song and the grief that drips from the lyrics: “Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time.”
I never want to say to grief, “Not today.” After all these years, I’m vested in grief like a 401K. I want to remember him. To remember us. To remember our love, which has fermented, aged like a good wine.
What parts of grief do you never want to lose? What don’t you want to forget? Leave a comment or send me an email.