“Loss and pain in the world is unimaginable but I want them to try.” – Max Porter from Grief is The Thing With Feathers

I want to make an example of my Grief. I made the decision to live through it so now I must learn from it. I’ve entered into a contract with life’s lessons and I must uphold my end of the bargain.

While Grief has me in its grasps, I want to get a good description of him. Almost like you would while being attacked and the attacker is just feet away. Height. Hair color. Body type. The sound of his voice. I want to remember the features of Grief so when he comes around to haunt my friends I can be prepared. I’ll know what to look for in a lineup of emotions.

I can’t tell if personifying experiences and emotions makes them easier to deal with or harder. In one sense, doing so makes them feel more concrete and manageable. Like a two year old throwing a tantrum, you just need to be patient and help find comfort for the inconsolable child. In another sense, you can create a monster out of this personified emotion. Like a stalker or bully who stubbornly and repeatedly finds your weaknesses and knows exactly where your breaking points are. We personify to control yet through personifying we give validity and strength to something that could be ephemeral. It’s a double edge sword and both sides are sharp. One side used to cut out emotions into bite sized pieces that we can chew. The other to cut into who you are at your core splitting you in half.

Grief is packing his bags and seems anxious to leave. Before Grief leaves me I ask him to join me for dinner so we can talk about his time here with me. Did I weather you like you thought? Did you pull out all the stops to stop me? When will you return? I ask knowing he won’t answer – that’s grief’s greatest weapon – the element of surprise followed by the overwhelming sense that Grief will never leave. Grief steals all time and only gives it back for you to borrow. The dinner is cordial and a formality as we’re both weary and ready to move on with our lives. Grief has grown tired of my quotes that distract me from him and my network of friends I turn to when he manages to get into my head and heart. My defenses have grown to the point where what was once before a true battle now more closely resembles a sparring session. We play fight with what ifs while both of us know full well what really is. Irrationality as a thought exercise rather than reality.

Until next time.


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