Monday, November 1, 2010

Good Grief?

Good grief? Really? I'd like to know what's so good about it.

I'm certainly not the first person to experience grief. My guess is that some of you (my 18 followers, that is) are experiencing grief right now, have in the recent past, or will in the near future.

And grief blows.

Blah-ditty-blah denial, anger, sadness, acceptance. The only fun I see in there is the denial phase. The inner voice that justifies about anything to keep from feeling the grief.  "Oh! Look at that! Our house is getting foreclosed on? No. That's not right. Not happening. Nope. Not at all. We just felt like getting rid of 2/3 of our shit and moving into a dingy little apartment! We didn't need all of that stuff anyway! Oh, look! I'm closer to work now! Isn't that great?!" (*smiles in a Stepford wives kind of way*) How can somebody so blatantly deny the truth? Because they don't want to feel the grief, that's why. Because grief sucks.

I'd like to propose redoing the phases of grief. You know. Re-marketing it a bit. Something like:

denial, ice cream party, rage, movie night, winning lottery ticket, sadness, cupcake, surprise love letter, acceptance

Yeah. If it went more like that, I think we'd all be a bit better about swiftly moving through the process.

As it is, I'm in the sadness phase. Verging on acceptance, but apparently I have a little more "crying so hard that I actually dry heave the 2 crackers that I ate yesterday" phase to get through. Which I think is a sub-category of the sadness.  Totally okay if it were sandwiched between the cupcake and surprise love letter phase, but some jackass designed this grief business, not me. As it is, I've been in the "everything you eat will taste like cardboard and sawdust, and every swallow of food will land on a teetering pile of vomit resting at the top of your throat" phase. Which has brought me "Wow, you look great!" comments a few months ago, but now bring the, "Are you sure you're okay? You look a little..." I know. Ghouly. Not girly. Ghouly. And not sexy-ghoul. Emaciated ghoul.

Again, totally avoidable with my grief plan, which would include cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes. From The Cupcakery.

I appreciate the tenacity of grief. I really do. It has a kind of Body Snatchers way of attaching itself to things that don't really belong to it.  You know what I mean. It's when you can't get the coin into the parking meter and you fall to the sidewalk in guttural sobs. Or when a receipt flies out of your car window while you're driving on the highway, and you begin award-winning tears as you watch it flutter and twist and turn in your rear view mirror. I'll never get that receipt back again, you wail. It was such a good receipt.

It's never about the receipt. Or the parking meter. It's the tiny weed that you pull and are surprised to find just how deep and far that weed really extends, just an inch or so underground. Trust me. Find your weed and pull it. Just a little. Pull it from the hollow in your stomach. Pull it until you feel yourself begin to unravel.

That's the one. The one attached to grief.

Are you ready to feel?

I'm heading this one straight on.  Party's over. The lights are on and the doors have been opened. Secondary party guests have been sent home, poorly rinsed tupperware containers in their hands. Desserts that they didn't want, but neither did I. Goodnight! Drive safely! It was great seeing you! And it was.

Now I lock the door and breathe deeply before turning around to see who's still there. Bankruptcy is sitting on my sofa, fingering the change in his pocket, looking a bit guilty. Busted. Infertility is in my bathroom, rummaging through my makeup. Without permission.  Abandonment is nowhere to be found, but I know he's here somewhere. Separation is looking through my photo albums, pulling pictures for her own collection. I know she has no intention of giving them back. Divorce is sitting at the desk in my kitchen, reading and rereading the letter telling him what to wear and how to behave at the county courthouse this Thursday. The Death of my Dog is curled up on my new dog's bed, looking up at me like only a dog can. Why did you do this to me? It asks. It knows why.

Okay, everybody, I say to my remaining guests.  Party's over.  Let's talk.


  1. *big hug*

    Grief for me usually also involves cupcakes. But vanilla cupcakes. With chocolate frosting. Big cupcakes. Many cupcakes. Which leads people after a time to say, "you look different...." Which means, "you look slightly husky." Grief also usually involves much sleep. Well, laying in bed for hours on end, only to wake and escape into a random computer game or a Law & Order marathon. I feel you.

  2. Do you have any idea what an amazing writer you are, Bridget? I mean, truly, you have such a gift.

    Thinking about you...

    I left you a message on school email.

    I will pack lunches (with stickers) for as long as you need them. There is one in my refrigerator right now, sitting next to my own.

  3. Bridget, best blog post yet! Amazing how this shit called grief brought out this amazingly written vignette. Also how, even though you don't mention it directly, one event can trigger a frickin' buckload of old grief about a number of other events, both recent and old. You could publish this; it's that wonderful.

  4. Grief for me usually means sad radio head songs, and praying not to go to school because no one understands. I guess because of this post there are a bit less radiohead songs in my life.
    Thanks Ms. Maret