I've watched other grievers. At my grief counseling class, we wear the black G under our shirts rather than on top. We are the secret Legion of the Grievers, and we choose to grieve, mostly without fanfare. We each drive ourselves to a class, which takes tremendous energy for active grievers. People who don't seek help after a death in the family may choose not to grieve. They stuff. I'd like to stuff. It just doesn't work that way. For me, anyway. The grief comes whether I'm feeling good that day, or whether I've gotten work done, or whether the sun is out, whether the birds are chirping, as they are outside my window this cold morning in February.
Almost all of the grieving moments and days for me come first with the deep realization that my husband is gone. Gone in the permanent way. Death is the ultimate definition of permanent. This is the permanent gone of infinity and prophetic biblical proportion. It has impressed upon me a lesson that has changed my perception of life, which is that the surest fact of life is death. Even the most privileged among us, the One Percent, will die. They get it in the end, too.
So, what does an intelligent, 47-year-old college-educated mother of two do with this kind of information? Outside of the obvious – that it makes me more than a little dark-minded – it makes me partly despise conventional ways of living. I no longer lead a conventional life. Conventional as in a husband, two kids, and a dog (now a cat). A mortgage, a car payment, a career of some sort, a vacation every once in a while. It makes it difficult sometimes for me to spend time with people who live conventional lives. I feel cheated. There's a lie in the promise of an ordinary life.
If I choose to continue processing through the lense of futility, what's there? I do believe it is a choice to harbor futility. It is a thought pattern that could just as easily be replaced, in time, with another. Futility is unpleasant to share a bed with. It makes everything look like not much at all. It takes your hand and constantly squeezes in Morse Code: What's the point? I am told, yes, this is grief. This is what grief does. It is normal. It will pass.
|Cooper Chapel, Bella Vista, Ark.|
Mind you, I don't feel stuck. I get up and participate. I don't wallow under the covers cuddling futility all day in my pajamas then at dinner time, shuffle toward the frig in my gaudy slippers past a mound of dirty dishes. I've never done that. Don't imagine I will.
So, I shift. If I no longer fit the convention, then my life is different. It is not ordinary. I can choose to see it as not ordinary in a positive way. And in doing so, I can believe my life is extraordinary, if I choose.
If I choose. If I choose.