Grief is radically different when viewed from arms length. I read about it everyday in the news, it is almost as benign as the weather. I easily gloss over its bottomless depths when it applies to others.
Or I might begin to imagine what it could feel like, shudder, and then continue reading. Or perhaps skip to a different article altogether.
This one I can’t skip. Grief now covers my life in the same way as a heavy snowstorm can alter a landscape. Normalcy is buried far below the ground cover, and you don’t know where to begin to shovel.
The new normal is far less colorful, far less welcoming. Better to dwell in the subconscious of sleep.
The feverish hope we had been clinging to each day and night has been replaced, leaving in its place a cold grief. An unending sorrow.
Physically, this grief manifests as a faint feeling of nausea, 24-7, mixed with lethargy. You realize you need to eat, just to keep moving, but whatever you’re eating tastes like leather. It’s pure sustenance, nothing else.
Limbs that dove into exercise, previously, are hard to coax into action. The energy required to move them could be better put to use – just remembering. Remembering a recent past that was subtly different.
A time when someone was okay, that now is not.
Grief, I’m realizing, is really a mixture of sadness and anguish. Sadness because you miss this person, and would do anything to have them back, just for one more second, but preferably until you die first.
Anguish because we live in a world where extremely wonderful, physically superior, morally impeccable and outright supreme beings can be extinguished by disease, although they have lived their lives so carefully.
And yet so many others live on, careless to their humanity.
It seems so unfair. So unjust.
Rightly or wrongly I am furious at the medical community who didn’t know anything about his cancer, a sarcoma so out of the limelight that it receives no funding, no benefits of research.
Although he was accepting and gracious with the outcome, the one we feared most and could barely turn our minds to, I am not. I can’t stop thinking about the what if’s and the if only’s, desperate to piece together a different ending.
At this juncture, I remind myself that this has happened to countless others throughout existence, to mothers, fathers, lovers, friends, sons, daughters, friends, brothers, sisters.
Others, too, have been taken from this world far too soon.
But this, this is personal. This grief is a permafrost.
We can’t choose our family. But being his sister was fate’s greatest gift.