grieving is merely accepting that you are letting go. it’s the emptying that we cling to, that we push through as it rips us apart. it’s the knowledge of endings without closure. it’s the knowledge of endings. it’s the interminable shutting door when all we wanted was one more glance, one more crumple of tissue paper, one more hug at Christmas with your only brother and then years later, a shared joint over a fire for his birthday: laughter at our family’s dysfunction, meeting his wife, meeting his smile, holding his gaze, discussing our parents mold and hot water problem, persistent plumbing problem, pet problem, general money problem, gambling problem, drinking problem, dads looming death with earnest discussion, with large toothy smiles. but all those things took my brother with them. the ardor cracked my fragile brother in two until he was just ash around my throat, that I read tarot to as I swallowed one bone so we can never be apart in a manic frenzy of hurt. there is no birthday bonfire. there is no more nightmare on elm street marathons. there is no more “you are adopted, sarah!”and the abrupt tantrum to follow. there is no teaching me about men.there is no eye contact. there is no getting any of that back.
we can’t comprehend death even though it is the only anticipated thing. we are offended by its snarling creep. we are mortified by the ways it takes the ones we love. we are mortified to admit he died by vodka. we are guilty we survived. we are ashamed of our poverty, our lack of sleepovers, our lack of security, yet so much perceived privilege from the world and how privileged were we? both inheriting yellow livers, flooded lungs, rum ropes to hang ourselves from. and my only ally is gone; the only one who understood what it meant to be raised in that way. that storm. embarrassed by the way their deaths take us, right here right now on the train where I hide my crying face because no I can’t fucking get over his death. but my grief for the living is harder. because they are there but they are not. I project it all onto the living.
that kind of grief requires the acceptance that life inevitably goes on and I still did not get what I want. I still did not get one more glance, they did not see me weep in a burgundy dress on the train on a day when I let it overtake me without pause, they did not see me try to hold it in, they did not see me try to change. they never saw the liquid comas I swam through. did not see the knives pointed over my hands. they did not see where I came from and I have no one to prove I shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be thriving, shouldn’t be here at all. I can call the living that walked out but I can’t be five years old with them in my backyard cheating at softball,talking to butterflies, hoping for more: more money, more chalk for the sidewalk, more living bunnies the cat won’t touch, more love from the two men in my life that just can’t seem to hug me with any meaning until it’s over. until I’m moving to Colorado and one of us is dying. until it’s way too fucking late to teach me male warmth. I don’t blame them.
grief holds you captive like one long steady choke until you one day you finally let go on the train in an unexpected outburst that startles your neighbors and jostles you to remember your brother is a libra and his birthday is coming and you both always wanted to be something scary for Halloween . but your brother is dead and all your lovers are gone. you parents are dying and your pets will be too. your brother is dead. your brother is dead. your uncle shot his head off last year. your brother is still dead. your family is sick and a lot of them prefer suicide and your brother is dead.
I had written it in the back of a notebook after it happened to comprehend what it meant when something is never coming back.
not a single moment in my life will ever be repeated again. I let go. I become. I cry quietly on the train without interruption or romance. I ask for nothing ever again. everything you learn to love, you lose. I appreciate fleeting moments and every ounce of joy the presence brings.
my astrologer said to me: your self undoing will be grief and romance. thank you god for so many endings. thank you for trusting my strength. thank you for helping me fall. thank you for raising me to my limits to show me what my limits are. thank you for my gifts that came with perseverance. I learned to love when I finally accepted my brothers death. I have been looking for my brother, you see, and when I finally accepted I will never have that again, I suddenly broke wide open and hugged everyone back. I held them too.