Grief and All You Wanted


I grieve for many things.

One person far away, an acquaintance, died a few years ago. She tried to help me during one of my more bleak periods. It doesn’t touch me so much as it marks the end of a period of relative innocence, when nobody you know has died yet.

I miss a young man I loved once, or at least was overly fond of, but circumstances dictated that things should be otherwise. And I know it was for the better.

Old friendships snapped, not always my fault, but they are snapped nonetheless.

There are years I remember from University, during the period of stalking and danger, when I cherished every day even though I was afraid. Everything from those days has an aching clarity: bookstores, streets, people, restaurants, food I haven’t ever seen anywhere else, parking lots, dorm buildings, quads, auditoriums, balconies, malls, weather. It was a time of transition that might have ended abruptly.

Parts of me are gone, permanently, and can never be reclaimed, even if it was safe and I wanted to.

I used to be someone else, literally, and I can never be that someone ever again. I don’t really miss that, but I am sad that my development had to be so sharply delineated, that some things had to be cut off. It’s like a limb that you amputate because it had turned gangrenous; you had to, even though not all of it had turned that way. And there are phantom pains when you wonder, if only things could have been different.

Paranoia still grips my relationships with people. I am, frankly, pure poison many times, and personal relationships that persist are rare with me. I’m better than I used to be, but it’s something I need to think about it and consciously put away.

Professional relationships are natural to me. Without someone to assist, I am lost and adrift. Without employment as a power behind something, it’s hard to cope. Especially when part of you wants to be more.

Romantic love is not something I’m able to feel. I love my friends, but I wonder what it’s like to be able to trust someone that completely. I can, I think, write characters who love, but that final closure is not something I myself can engage in.

No family, ever.

I am watching birds fly away across the horizons, one by one.

But this is no different from what everyone feels, at times. The details are different, but there are ships that are gone, tides that have left, and birds that have abandoned us.

Yet there are birds that stay, or migrate back when you thought they had disappeared forever. Sometimes it’s a fleeting glimpse into a world that was, or a world that could have been, but grief makes a life fuller.

To be yourself, you must grieve.

I said elsewhere once that you always have yourself to fall back onto. I have always had someone, even when I was in transition.


Both pictures based on Another Fake Reflection by fdecomite, CC-licensed under Attribution 2.0.
Song: All You Wanted by Michelle Branch, The Spirit Room