I fall without a parachute into this strange hurt, some days intentionally jumping from an aeroplane into it, and some days falling backward with an astonished gasp, falling off the cliff of the world and soaring head over feet to a crash I don’t really fear, because – can the pain of the crash be worse than the pain that caused the fall?
(Am I wallowing in the pain? I wonder if the grief has become like a pillow, if it is where I rest my head when I am tired and when I no longer want to march on.)
The sadness feels familiar, not strange now, it has become an uncommon friend. It rises up to embrace me and it calls me by the names you used to use. I look up and there it is, writ large in the clouds. I look down and there it is, written in the dust at my feet. It frames the pictures of the two of us, our heads bent together and it plays songs with choruses we sang together and discussed the meaning of. It is in my food, I eat it and it is in my drink, I drink it: I consume it.
I consume it before it consumes me, because this strange friend of mine is a comfort but it is a fickle one and I cannot forget it has teeth that tear their way into me when I do not expect. In the middle of the night, I lie awake watching the mouth of sadness open and bare its teeth, a spectacle I regard without real surprise.
Grief, I tell you, is a strange, strange thing. But, strange as strange is, it is not a stranger.