I carry my grief high in my chest. A hard lump, slightly smaller than a clenched fist, it lives just below my collarbones.
Every breath has to get through this knot. Every bite of food, every drink. Every word I speak has to make it past before it can reach my mouth. I need to be careful with the words. Anything too serious, too close to real, the knot may unfurl -- a great dark bloom, wet petals dripping with poison.
Better to let my hands speak for me. Writing, drawing, tattooing. My hands are happy. They get to speak their truth without sneaking past that awful knot. // They don’t have to sneak past that awful knot to speak the truth.
Sometimes it sleeps, the knot. You’d never even know there was anything wrong. Times like that, I can almost, *almost* forget it’s there, sleeping high inside my chest.
I’m good at grieving. As good as you can be. None of us make it to our fifth decade without a lot of practice. I know how it comes and goes. I know better than to fight it when it rises up, and better than to dwell on it when it chooses to sleep.
And I know that finally, eventually, grief passes. Life demands too much of us to allow anything else. That’s both a blessing and a sadness.
It’s been a couple of weeks now since my mom passed. Her illness and pain are over, her end was gentle, and our relationship these last few years was the best it’s ever been. You can’t ask for better.
So, you know, it’s natural and all that. Still hurts, of course, but that’s natural too. And I’m glad to know it ends, because somewhere on down the line, I’m going to pass this same grief on to my own daughter. And I don’t want it to hurt her too much, or for too long.