I was going to blog every day, and now I have missed six [since drafting this, it has been several more — whee]. I am going to try to write back into that space over the next few days, but I want to meditate a bit on the last few days.
The short answer to why I haven’t written is grief. Obviously, I guess. Lately, grief has felt a bit like a large box in the middle of the room that I keep meaning to move but never get around to addressing, so instead I stub my toes on it ten times a day. It’s there, it’s lurking, it’s present. But it’s also my own lack of direct address that makes it so.
In some ways, the last month has been the easy mode of grief. When my dad died, I was on a plane within twelve hours of receiving the news, child in tow. We spent a month at home, and I looked after my mum as best I could and parented my kiddo as best I could and tried to knock things off the enormous post-death checklist as best I could and checked in occasionally at work as best I could. In short, I distracted myself.
After an epic 25-hour travel day (thanks, global pandemic), I got home to this home — do other adult humans refer to more than one space as home, or is that just me? — and I handed off kiddo to my husband and they went off for an afternoon adventure of haircuts and dance class and suddenly I was faced with the horrifying reality that, no longer distracted, I would have to feel my feelings.
I can feel myself beginning to unravel, and I think the truth of the last week is that I am not so emotionally stunted that I didn’t know this was eventually coming. I’ve been tired, and I’ve been intentionally tiring myself out to keep from having to grieve too profoundly, too deeply. And writing taps into all the same introspective parts of the self. So too tired to grieve was also too tired to write. And here we are.
I am back at my desk today in a formal capacity; back to writing and thinking and trying to do brain work. But I also recognize that I need to not use that as another form of distraction and escape. What is the balance?
I’ve recently apparently become a Person Who Orders Books About Grief after a lifetime of eschewing self-help as a genre (I once quit a book club because they made us read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and everyone loved it and I hated its story of wealthy white lady problems so profoundly that I knew these could never be my people), so I guess it’s new frontiers all around. I am currently reading It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine and The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss by George A. Bonanno. Will report back.
I actually planned out this whole month of blogging ages ago and so I have lots of topics that aren’t my dead dad to talk about. I really hope to get to them. But I’m also grateful for this space to process and reflect. And grieve. It’s so hard to grieve. No one tells you that part: just the feeling of feelings, the space for sadness, is so hard to allow yourself to undertake. I think, for me, this part starts now.