Carm and I met 11 years ago in the woods, not quite 4 years after my dad died. She was confident, authoritative, and safe. The weekend I went home with her, she climbed into her dad’s lap and told him about our little cabin on the river while snuggled in his arms. I clung to my picture box and curled into myself as tight as possible against the jealousy that bit into me. I was so hurt. So angry at her for not even knowing to be thankful for that moment.
Now. About the same amount of time has passed since her dad joined mine. We talk about grief. Loss. Our mothers. I think she’s frustrated. She feels like it’s long enough. That she should be ok now. Tonight she sent me a picture, of what grief should look like.
And I found myself reaching wildly for my picture box and curling inward, irrationally and unfairly angry at her, much like that night at her house the summer we met. I told her I don’t think there’s a prescription for grief. Confident and authoritative as ever she said “In 20 years, that’s how it will look. Good nite.”
One if the teachers at yoga tells first timers “You never stop struggling in here. You just get better at faking it.”
At five, ten, now almost fifteen years since my dad died I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I could say, “here, let me draw a picture of my experience, put it in a file some where and just be done grieving.”
It doesn’t ever go away. Ever.
Sure. You get better at getting through a full day without stopping. Just like you eventually start getting through the full 90 minutes without stopping. But it’s always hard, and there where always be days where half moon knocks you to your ass and you never catch back up. Or you realize you’ve fallen into a Class V yoga hole and it may take weeks to regain your footing.
It’s impossible to look at every second of a future without someone you love, and put that vision in the past.
11 years ago, I thought Carm had all the answers. I thought our friendship had discovered the key to sadness and the power to leave it behind.
11 years ago, Carm thought I was ridiculous, that five years should be more than sufficient to work through it and move on. I think she was sure I was doing it wrong since I didn’t look like any diagram from her text books. I think maybe even now, she’s convinced that she’s doing it wrong.
I’m convinced I will struggle forever, and just get better at faking it.