“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson
I’m sitting in my office, in my usual nook. It’s just rained and whilst that’s not usually anything to note whilst living in England, considering yesterday reached a sizzling thirty four degrees in some regions, I have to admit the cooler atmosphere is very much welcome. I’ve just had a chinese and my attention is dancing in between the television and my phone when it hit’s me like brick falling from the 96th floor. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I feel my world immediately start to slow down. I’ve just stumbled across a profile of a young, happy go looking woman. She is married and they make a gorgeous couple. All tatted and reeking of Kooples type cool. From what I can deduce they have three kids and a dog. They aren’t homophobic because they’ve just celebrated two female friends getting married. I do all the usual Murder, she wrote type clue collecting you do when you already feel like you know somebody via social media.
The one thing she makes clear is that her husband is fighting cancer which seems to be terminal. He could have six months or three years - to live that is. And that’s the bit that always gets me.The part where I’m forced, even if its for a second about losing the man I love. See I’ve been there before. Silently weeping over a chilled corpse and trying to will it back to life. And the feeling, the feeling of death, never quite leaves you. At various points during a not particularly busy day I’m often struck with a thought of getting another ‘call’. The type of call that will change my life as I know it. Every time Papa B leaves the house, I wonder if today will be ‘that’ day. I often imagine his car entangled with another, barely recognisable, just a shit load of mangled metal. Every time he complains of phantom pain or is struck by a cold, I prepare myself for the worst.
This fear is not reserved only for him, I project my continuous worries of mortality onto my children. I check both Esmé and RJ multiple times a night. My heart skips a beat if Esmé leaves my sight for a mere moment when we’re out. I avoid stories relating to the death of children and babies because I don’t even want to invite that kind of energy into my mental space.
I’ve worked hard to face my fears. As valid as they are I know my worries are perhaps a little unreasonable. I’m an avid consumer of all material other people would consider to be morbid. I have a funeral plan in place. When walking past a funeral home, I often stop and marvel at all the paraphernalia they suggest we need to escort us from this life to whatever is next. And although a lot of it is overpriced tat, I can’t help but fall hook line and sinker for the bedazzled caskets which seem to scream ‘No God could turn me away from Heaven when I pull up in this bad boy.’ I am educated in most life ending circumstances From SIDS to euthanasia and bloody murders in between, hoping that understanding the individual process’ can help take the edge off of what awaits. Basically, I try to get as close to death as I can without actually dying and let me tell you, its an exhausting hobby.
I’m becoming aware of how my obsession with death is consuming a lot of time in my life. I often pass up on spending time with the living to read books or watch documentaries which explains what happens to the dead. And whilst I understand my strange proclivity is perhaps a way I deal with the unknown, I know that it isn’t entirely healthy. But also nor is our western societies obsession with trying to keep death under body bag type wraps. Believe me when I say I’ve done my research and it’s only the western hemisphere who turn into the personification of a cactus when forced to speak about their mortality when facts state it’s what awaits us all.
Also, this fear is why I work so hard. An ex once told me that when his father died suddenly, his mother didn’t know how to use a cash point as her now dead husband had cared for her every need financially. I watched how my fathers widow struggled to locate simple things like the password for the internet after his passing. Hearing these stories and witnessing these moments encourage me to work hard enough that should sudden death strike again, money is the least of my worries.
Even though I know were all destined to go from a womb to a tomb, it doesn’t eradicate my fears about how the ones I love will meet their end. I’ve been on the receiving end of a sudden death before and honestly to do it again would perhaps have my living loved ones forced to look into two for one discounts at the local parlor. So every day I go through this routine of shoving my perhaps unreasonable fears aside and working hard on living in the now and being grateful for every moment that comes before the inevitable. And I don’t want a cancer diagnosis, car crash or an icicle falling from a great height to remind me of how important the now is.
Papa B has now called me to watch a movie with him (it turned out to be terrible) and just like that, I’m being pulled back into the land of the living, where I’m obviously supposed to be for now.