“It feels like we will live forever, but I fear, that time can hide the years like we were never here.” –Chris Cornell, “Before We Disappear”
This has been the hardest week to get through since Ana died. First Mother’s Day, then her birthday, and now her memorial looms in front of me. I timed her memorial to coincide with her birthday, so I have no one to blame but myself. But I had no idea how draining each of these milestones would be. I had no idea how fresh the pain would feel with each reminder that Ana is gone.
Yesterday, I wept whenever I was alone. It was something about the blue sky and the warmth that set me off or maybe it was the new paint on the living room wall that Ana never got to see. Maybe it was the photos I flipped through on her old computer — hundreds of them — all those back seat selfies with Emily and pictures of the sky. She loved taking photos of the sky.
My heart hurts. It’s a physical pain. Yesterday, I wished it would explode. I wished it would stop beating. I couldn’t get out of my own head, couldn’t escape the swirling memories, the mix of past and present. I couldn’t find it in me to anticipate the future. Sometimes this happens to me. It’s nothing new. It’s why I write all the time – essays, blog posts, poems. When Emily and I worked on the living room on Tuesday, we encountered dust and cobwebs everywhere. Some corners hadn’t been touched in years. And now, I can’t stop thinking about all the corners of this house, and of my life, that I’ve neglected. I can’t stop thinking how little I give a shit about starting over right now. I don’t know how to do this.
My mind is filled with dust and cobwebs. The heaviness of it all, the vast open space in my life that was once filled with Ana, her eulogy…which I finished writing on her birthday…all of it is so much. I want to sink down beneath it and never come out again.
Who is this person trapped so fully in grief? It’s not me. How can it be me?
I know that some of you will worry when you read this, but I need to write it down, I need to release it. There are days when the pain is all consuming — days filled with confusion about my life, about Ana’s life, about the purpose of everything.
The pain moves like an ocean, ebbing and flowing, sometimes trying to drag me underneath the waves. Grief has an undertow. I’m struggling against it, but I grew up on Long Island. I know that sometimes you have to let it carry you out farther than you want to go before you can attempt to swim back to the shore. That’s why I’m letting myself weep. That’s why I’m obsessing over photographs. That’s why I’m writing, with as much honesty as I can muster, about this relentless fucking pain.