Did you know that grief is very patient, and easily waits thirty years until you are 'ready', if that even exists at all...?
Well, I honestly thought that there was nothing left for me to process, because I had already done that as a child, sort of a la minute.
Until a few months ago, while Netflixing alone on the couch.
I suddenly saw her, my sister. In the days that followed, I saw women on the street, girls, and I saw her there too. She was everywhere, in everyone while I was engulfed in a sadness as deep as a well. I wasn't sure what to do, because I was amazed at the power with which it moved me. I couldn't stop crying for the loss of that moment so many years ago, for everything that had happened because of it, and the crater of absence that it struck in our, my life ever since.
So, I started writing to her, my beautiful, tough, powerful big sister who never lived past the age of thirteen. Because I know no other than to process anything - including grief and sadness - by talking to her, as if we picked up the conversation that was suddenly cut off:
"Yes, it has become a long story dear sister.
You were dead. It had really happened.
Everything in our already fragile life with two parents who did love us but not eachother was torn apart, defenseless against the power of a dead tree that couldn't hold the heavy storm any longer.
I had no idea what all this meant for our story, as I was only nine after all. The only thing I noticed was that I couldn't find a foothold wherever I tried. Every attempt was a disillusion, a debunking of certainty about my life.
I did what I knew best, that which suited my dreamy nature, and fled far away within myself. I dissociated, and with the speed of light I disconnected myself first from you, then from our little brother, from dad, even from mom and my girlfriends, from boys, until I didn't attach myself to anything anymore, and I was supposedly free... or dead, you tell me.
'Unbelievable, how strong you came out of this', I heard regularly, and sometimes I almost believed it myself, warming myself to the admiration that people then expressed. I honestly thought that I had gotten through it my way, and that the endless 'not being attached to anything' was a kind of enlightened ideal that allowed me to get on with life just fine.
Only a pity that I was often so depressed that I could not get out of bed. Too bad I wasn't able to feel love, or surrender to anything that wanted to be warm or loving. Too bad I had a a stomachache every day.
Too bad I found myself so disgusting that I didn't deserve food and had to puke after every meal. Yes, very unfortunate, especially if you bring a child into the world yourself, who looks at you and sees everything.
Apparently I hadn't ended up in Nirvana yet. And so, my dear sister, it is not surprising that I am still walking around on this earth. I've never been a fast one (like you) so it's taken me a few years, and yes, the appearances I kept have fallen apart, and it may still be falling, but this time I'm doing it consciously, to see what's left, and what's real about me.
So I've been crying more and more since my kids were born. I discovered that feeling partially only works to a very limited extent, and that if you cross a minimum limit, the iceberg melts to such a point that it collapses.
But the IBS did go away. And the depression, the eating disorder too.
So I cry more and more, and the more I cry, the more I feel, and the more I feel the more I miss you, and more clearly I see the empty space you left behind.
I cry like a wolf, for the child you and I once were.
Call me a masochist but somewhere it feels good. It feels... well, that I feel something at all, and come to a core in the bizarre thing we call life, taking place in and around me.
And in this core I also feel your presence, growing stronger.
And now that it is, I want to tell you everything, and hopefully embrace you from now on and forever."
And once I started, I continued to write for days. It's not done yet, as I still have so much to say now that I feel the connection again. And I realize that the latter blocked the grieving process: connection.
Only by opening my heart to her again, I could feel her absence. Apparently I had to gather the courage for that all this time...
For me, mourning means being courageous. Enduring the pain, and still knowing somewhere that it will be good for something. Grieving feels like consciously jumping into a burning fire out of love for life itself, as a tribute to the loved one who just left it. Grieving is breaking through something, into some new shape of life....
Maybe you also recognize something from this story?
I realize that it is very personal, and everyone will have a different view of it. Feel free to share how you could or can come to mourning in the comments, or by sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.