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Death & Company

I’ve worn out my “delete” key trying to sum up what grieving has taught me

Reaching the two-year mark after losing someone close to you

My body knows before I do.

A weight of silence sits on my chest and pins me to my bed

Hours of sleep I couldn’t get, even without wisdom teeth

Vicodin’s got nothing on grief.


Today mark’s the two-year anniversary of my niece’s death, and the only thing I’ve gotten on paper thus far is the “poem” above. I should note that I’m referring to the time I got my wisdom teeth out and took half a Vicodin which made me pass out for like 8 hours, not that I’m addicted to Vicodin. Hey, nothing marks a good poem like having to explain it to the reader, am I right?

Moving on...

Grief: A stream of consciousness...

Who invited my ego to this death-day party?

Is there a more fitting title for these days?

The ego has a whole host of reasons for wanting to be seen, and I hope a year from now I’m not as angry. But at this moment, I am. My ego wants me to mark “healing” progress, stitch the ones I love back together again, write something substantial on grief to prove my student loans are worth it... It never ends. And the list keeps getting longer.

Two years post-loss feel different for a few reasons: The shock has worn off and there’s a finality about the loss. The future she’s not a part of is more clear. I wonder how the holidays will be, that heavy air of waiting, knowing we’re about to give thanks and it will be one voice less. I think I’m grieving more for the memories we won’t make than the ones we have. I regret not taking the time to get to know her as an adult. I thought this period of our lives would be a do-over, a time of reconnection- the fun was just about to begin.

When it happened, the words “Grief fills the room up of my absent child...”, from Shakespeare’s King John (referenced below), echoed in my bones.


Grief fills the room of my absent child,

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,

Remembers me of all his gracious parts,

Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;

Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?

In undergrad, a classmate performed this beautifully- lamenting, almost hymn-like, the comforting presence of grief in her child’s forever absence. Constance opened her arms to grief...(perhaps a little too much since she does go mad at the end, but I digress..) She allowed grief to be fully experienced in real-time, and from this piece, I’ve come to believe a few things:

  1. Grief never passes and we never get over it. We just learn to relate to it differently.

  2. Those “new ways of relating” don’t always look like you think they will, so allowing yourself to arrive at missing them from a lighter place can be helpful.

  3. Most of the time, grief feels like it ambushes me.

  4. Finding something to laugh at can shake my body out of its grief state.

  5. Make space for your grief, make space for others’ grief, and when they express it, don’t make it about you.

  6. A year from now, I wonder what lessons have come, will they be more celebratory of life? I hope so. Either way, I know that this pain is just one train stop on the journey of grief and as always, I’ll get back on the train.

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