Grief Talk

Sculpture by Albert Gyorgy
(Click here to read more about the sculpture.)

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.

8 thoughts on “Grief Talk

  1. I never want to lose the reason for the depth of my ongoing grief for the untimely death at age 42 of a beloved friend/mentor/psychologist. Our relationship opened up windows for me to the amazing nature of being alive in this world. My vision/experience of life until that time was severely diminished by the restrictive and fear-based upbringing by my Holocaust-traumatized parents. I still remember the terror on their faces whenever the doorbell rang at our lovely home in a beautiful and safe neighborhood. For them, it might have been Nazis at the door coming to claim our lives. This woman changed my life by teaching me about the beauty and joy of life without enveloping fear that had accompanied my life before meeting her. She awakened me to the gifts and joys of life so that fear could no longer rule my life. I am forever filled with gratitude for her precious life, though cut way too short.

    1. What a wonderful gift she was, no doubt. Thank you for sharing this. May her memory continue to bless you.

  2. So beautiful thinking that you’ve grown older together……so lovely to hear your voice.

    That sculpture is the visual embodiment of loss and longing.

    1. Thank you, Sharyn. I’ve been taking WordPress “classes” (after all these years of using WordPress!) to try out more advanced features like audio.

  3. I look forward to reading these. My husband was killed ten years ago. I feel like I find more writings on the early horrific stages of grief, and less about the grief that is still carried and lived with from years ago. I clung to those writing about early grief in those early years, I felt less crazy and alone in the experience. Now I find people in my life thinking I have moved(or should move) on and forward or whatever, but grief and he are still with me and I never want that to change. And reading the stories of the way people do this still makes me feel less alone.

    1. (Jill) thank you for being here. The whole “move on” thing…you won’t hear that from me or the people who I will link to on the Grief Talk Tuesday page. “…grief and he are still with me and I never want that to change.” Well said. I get that.

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