On love, in sadness

Oh love, it's a brittle madness
I sing about it in all my sadness...
...I am insofar to know the measure of love isn't loss
Love will never ever be lost on me.
"On Love, In Sadness" -- Jason Mraz

How can someone quantify grief? Because there are times when it feels all consuming, immeasurable, and insurmountable; and there are times when it is a cold, distant memory that scratches at the corner of your mind like a child in time out. And how is grief measured? is it in the tissues or the tears? what is the formula for holding this emptiness in your heart? is the void to fullness ratio an even split?

Today I took a nap after work and as I dozed off, I saw my grandfather. He was sitting at a table by a window and he called out to me and asked me to sit with him. He told me he missed me and I cried and told him I missed him too. I’ve missed him so much. I don’t remember anything after that. I just see the smile on his face. He was younger in my dream. The grandfather I knew as a child. He looked happy. I wanted to ask him so many things. I wanted to ask him to visit me in my dreams more often.

I think it would be foolish to continue a post about grief by postulating about what happens after death — simply because I cannot ever know and, frankly, it’s just overdone.

This post has been swirling in my head for a year. First, after Gunny passed. Then my neighbor and very dear friend, Steve. Then my grandfather, Bernardo. Then my friend, Lance. Then my cousin’s grandmother, Candida. And now, Leuca. Grief is a tornado. Grief is an earthquake. Grief is a storm. Grief is wild and it is all consuming. I thought grief would be linear checkpoints and stages.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bartering
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

I thought I had faced mortality. I think about how many times I might have unknowingly looked at Death and walked away. But it’s different when you find that Death isn’t there for you. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I went through my own stages of grief for the life I had been living and I came to accept my philosophy that God had already predestined our future. It’s a heavy thing to imagine. I found it was easier for me to accept my death as an inevitability. It was not born of bravery or strength but of fear-based logic coupled with a predisposition to Faith.

But to face the abrupt death of a loved one? of several loved ones? It was unfathomable.

In my eulogy for my grandfather I wrote, “I have lived a lifetime with you and now I face a lifetime without…” and that is my dilemma. It feels impossible sometimes, to think that the people (and pets) you hold dear will not be with you during the next phase of your life.

I have no ending here. No resolution. No question for the reader to engage in. In this moment, I simply have a quiet sadness that will pass in the nighttime and lay dormant until something sparks my memory of them again.

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