Monday, January 18, 2010

April is Not the Cruelest Month

The mating dance of the herd of hallmark begins again as the winter unfolds.

For me it is not April that is the cruelest month, but February. Long before Pierre died; long before I experienced the Massacre at Hudson's, Valentine's Day was known to me as the day that Jack died.

I learned of this association at an age when I had no sentimentalism about Lynda's dead first husband because I knew that it was to Jack's death that I owed my very existence. I didn't mourn him but I was infinitely to curious to understand her feelings of grief.

I would try to imagine how she felt on that awful day. I wondered about the details, like who had told her and if she had broken down in tears, sobbing and wailing or if she'd stood silent and stoic in the doorway looking past the young soldiers who had been dispatched to inform her of Jack's death.

I know I asked her once about these details once. She told me, too, but curiously I don't recall all the answers. Did she cry? Yes. A lot? Yes. Did she miss him? That's the part I don't recall, perhaps because she probably never answered, leaving me to know in silence.

I do that a lot now, knowing in silence. I know that once one is past the bright line that marks knowing from not, grief is not optional. It is also not the only option. Immersed in the river of grief, tears may be shed but they do not define the experience. No single moment can.

This is a good thing, actually. To finish the analogy, without the cleansing flow of the river, the present would be too painful.

Now, from experience, I can tell you this: After enough time in that river, while they never vanish from the mind or body, even the deepest wounds cease to throb with such penetrating frequency. Eventually, the body seeks to emerge.

While those on the riverbank--those who have never lost--look on in wonder, we, the grief-stricken, stumble out, dry off and re-enter society.

The untouched wonder--quite rightly--that we are actually able to do this. They consider it amazing that we can even walk and talk again with meaning in our voice and purpose in our step.

How, they wonder, as did I, once: How can they simply move on?

I know it's not simple, and I guess not everyone does. I know I will. In fact, knowing that this day would come was perhaps the single hardest thing I had to deal with in the very first moments after Pierre's death.

Hopefully that day is here.

Part of the reason for this hope is the fact that I have a new job, starting February one. And, while it may look like 'just a new job' to some, to me it looks like the riverbank.

Who knows, perhaps it will change the way I feel about February.


d2 said...

Elegantly put.

Anonymous said...

Everyone eventually dips into that river of grief, some hurting more than others. There is more understanding out there than you might think. I am proud of you for emerging from the river and onto dry banks once again. I hope I understand your message and I assure you I've been there too, tho perhaps not as intensely as yourself and Valery. Now, full speed ahead with your new job!