Grief is Love
with no Place to Go.
We are taught many things, very very many things, except how to deal with death. We are never ever supposed to talk about it. Knock on wood.
Death is happening around you all the time, and you sympathise with the bereaved, but let’s face it, you don’t really feel it. People may say I know exactly how you feel, but that’s impossible, you have an idea of how they might feel but it’s not exact.
See, I never ever imagined my mother would die, it wasn’t a thing I thought about. Then she died. Then I got the call. Sometimes I try to explain it, what I felt and I hear myself explaining and my brain is saying naah that’s not even close.
I have cried before, I have even cried over a man. Just imagine. But I had never wailed.
When my sister hang up, I sat there for a solid minute. I don’t remember feeling anything. But when it did it bubbles up my throat and for a minute I think am going to throw up.
The wail came out with such force, it literally tore through my body, it startled me kabisa. Then I was like a wounded animal I couldn’t stop. It’s like your heart has been ripped off your chest and you are trying to put it back and you can’t, you are panicking, you can’t breathe. Then you are angry! About everything and anything.
Then a lot of things are happening at once, and in a flurry, you are doing things you have seen before done by others, you are there but not there. You are looking for passports, you are running home in your head this is a joke she is there, mothers don’t die.
Then you are there. You are being asked about food, who is to make her dress, somebody asked you about the coffin. It all seems very absurd, laughable even. A tent, chairs?! Then there’s the matter of where she is to be buried. And for a minute you think burried? You mean like In the ground?? That’s ridiculous!
People come to you, they hug you, they put their arms around you in tight embrace, you don’t hug them back, your limbs are inert, limb by your side. They say it well. Your head whips back. You think to yourself. What do they mean well? Well,?? Nothing is fucking well!!!!! Your brains screech and threaten to burst out of your skull. Rebellion is violent at the well.
Then it’s done and people are saying things about your mother in a tent in past tense. Just fucking absurd. You walk out to go be with her, to see her face, you study it. You mind does not register fuck shit. That’s not my mother in that… Coffin. .. but the hands, her hands you would recognise those hands in the dark. These hands have blown my nose, stroked my cheeks and whooped my ass. Now you are crying and giggling through snorts and tears that just wont stop flowing.
These hands have held me in her arms when there was no need for speech, these hands that have pulled my ears from church when I misbehaved. These hands that have held my head in a crook as she kissed my tiny feet!! Am shattered.
It’s her all right. Now you are just weak. Defeated.
The wail, it comes again when the soil gets thrown on the coffin. The finality of it arrives home. You crumble.
The thing is you will walk this path alone. Even if you have siblings and friends and everyone around you, you will be alone in the crowd and you shall be lost.
Grief is the last line of defense for Love.
My natural instinct is to love you mama.
Am still lost. But am always, always trying to find my way home to you.
My mother was my home. But with time I have learnt to make my home where love lives. Mother would have not wanted it otherwise.
It’s not the same but it’s good love.
_Songs for my Mother_