Over the past six years, I read and studied extensively on grief in an attempt to try to fully integrate its impact on my life. Much of what I have written has been raw; almost combative, daring anyone to question my right to process it publically. It has always left me feeling a little left of center, misunderstood and secretly wanting someone to say it was okay. There are very few that have ever said it was okay.
The interesting thing about grief for some of us is that the profound influence it has had on our lives puts things in perspective in life changing, permanent ways. It can up-end your world, alter your perception and change how you relate to every single person in your life. That is what has happened to me.
I have moments where I wish I wasn’t so in tune with how I feel. That maybe this mission I’ve been on has lead me to be more in touch with my feelings than is good for me. And I probably feel that way because I recognize that the further I have delved into my feelings, the farther I have moved away from an increasingly detached world.
In my lifetime alone, we have seen the world become more disconnected from feelings, interactions, and people in general. We mistake technology for communication, emoticons for emotions and online interactions for relationships. Quite honestly, it’s fucked up.
I recognize that technology has been my savior and outlet in the processing of my grief. I don’t think I could have grown in many ways without blogging and interacting with others via the internet. But it will never substitute for a touch of the hand, a hug, or a look in the eye that, six years later, I still need occasionally. A soft place to fall…..so many times, I have said that over the past six years. There is nothing soft or comforting in real moments of grief that I derive from the lack of actual human connection. And I still have those moments. They are not every day, or even every week. But, it still happens. I don’t imagine it will ever truly go away. It’s different now; I’ve intellectualized it probably because it’s the only way I end up not feeling like a total leper when I talk about something everyone else is avoiding having to discuss.
As for what I learned in the last six years since losing my brother, I’m not sure there are any new lessons that I haven’t written or spoken about before. It sucks. It sucked then and it sucks now. It sucks that my greatest growth and accomplishments were born out of a senseless loss. It sucks that the fallout has been catastrophic in some respects in my family life. It sucks to have to bury a sibling. It sucks to have to bury anyone. But we will all do it or have done it. And it sucks. I learned to have a voice. A voice that comforts some, aggravates others and make others want to slink away to a happier place. But I am happy. That’s the thing….even with all of this uncomfortable self-disclosure, I still love to laugh. I love to be with the people who make me happiest. I love to experience life, not through things but through moments. I love living. Warts and all.