I’m in a writing group for grief. There I said it. I’m in a support group. That sounds weird to me. Not because I’m opposed to support groups or group therapy. I’m just confused as to how I found myself in one. It just sounds so weird. So many years of complaining about the lack of self-care and finally when the shit hits the fan and I hit my knees I finally find support. Just seems weird.
C.S. Lewis, in A Grief Observed, wrote “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” This is the newest prompt. How does this make you feel? What does this bring up for me? Yada yada yada…
What does it bring up for me? God knows I can’t share all of that publicly but I can say emphatically that grief has brought more fear than I ever knew I could feel.
When Popi first died I feared falling asleep. I didn’t want to have to face another day. You know? That dread of waking up to a new reality. The reality without him. The one that said I didn’t do enough, say enough, spend enough time. The reality that says everything is different. I feared falling asleep and having to wake up.
I feared going home. I feared walking into my parent’s house and having to be happy. I feared having to go through his stuff. I feared having to be that vulnerable again and possibly breaking down again because I saw his shirt, his books, his photo, his notes all over the house, or his side of the bed where he spent most of this last year. I feared that being in that space meant I had to feel a particular way. I feared being fake.
As the days and weeks have passed I have I have learned to fear sleep and going home less. In fact I now look forward to both. Some days I won’t lie I do fear sleep but that’s still a mystery as to why. Going home, not so bad. I enjoy time with family and it’s ok dad’s not there. I mean he spent most of the last year asleep or resting in his room. So his absence isn’t much different.
I will tell you the thing that grief has made me fear the most to which I am also most surprised at, is joy. I fear any sort of joy. I fear being happy. I fear being in a good mood. I fear a good night’s sleep and a good workout. I fear crossing the finish line at my Half Marathon in March. I fear promotions and making new friends. I fear presentations and connections. I fear finishing my first book and when it gets published. I fear good music and good weather. I fear funny moments and the ridiculous ones. I fear anything that might possibly make me happy. I fear with all my heart that moment I finally learn I’m pregnant and that moment that our child breathes their first breath. I fear joy.
I fear pure joy. I fear this because those are the moments when I miss him the most. Those are the moments which I pick up my phone to shoot a quick text. Those are the moments I start to dial his number. Those are the moments I miss his voice. Those are the moments I hurt.
I fear joy. I fear joy more than sadness and hurt. I have an amazing support system who I can always turn to for sadness and hurt. Yes he was a part of that but he was the first one I went to for joy. He’s the one who’s smile I could hear on the other side of the phone. He’s the one who when he knew about it, it meant the joy was real. It meant I could celebrate and let’s be honest until he knew it meant it hadn’t really happened.
Grief has made me fear joy. This week has sucked and the joy I felt has knocked me back to the day he passed. That sadness and that pain. The joy I felt made me sad. So I need to run. I haven’t decided if it’s physically run or figuratively but all I know is I feel that urge. That urge to run. So today or maybe tomorrow I’ll go on another long run.
I hope I can make that happen because I don’t like being sad. Now I don’t like being happy either. Not sure what life will look like now.
-run JKO run