December 23, 2011

the selfishness of grief; or, I gave all

Close my eyes for a while
Force from the world a patient smile

But I gave you all
But you rip it from my hands
And you swear it's all gone
And you rip out all I have
Just to say that you've won

Well now you've won
- mumford & sons

     The early phases of grief are dominated by pain surrounded by loss.  A deep visceral, gutteral pain that threatens to cleave the body in two.  It's dominated by a sense of shock, fury, and profound loss.  But then life goes on, as that damnable axiom (under)states.  And therein lies the dilemma of latter grief.  It's selfish.  It's not just about the lost loved one.  It's about me and how I relate to the world.  I want to protect what I have left but the grief still has me its iron clad grasp.  How do I relate to the world while succumbing to grief?  Why won't my grief just leave me alone and let me study?  Why can't I just get past this turn in the road?  How can I remain true to my grief while juggling being a student, a husband, a father, a son, a human being?  Haven't I given enough?  Why can't I just get back to living my life?  
     Clamoring for answers from grief is about as useful as asking my dog to solve a polynomial equation.  She just lies there and wags her tail.  Kinda futile, to say the least.  But life demands that we keep going.  My training is ever ratcheting its pace fasterfasterfasterfaster, my dad still has cancer and (hopefully) is approaching a stem cell transplant soon, my wife still lives her life, my son still needs a father.....But there ever present is the grief that demands utter and complete obeisance.  It's not enough to say, 'yes, I feel the grief' and then move on.  It requires of the soul to relinquish all that brings joy and pleasure.  It thirsts for the very essence of my being.  It's not enough for give part of me.  It wants it all.  And after having it all, it still is not sated.  It demands even more yet.

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