Grief Hits


I try to minimize, but music plays and reminds me I tasted the kind love love songs are written about. Extraordinary. Enchanting. Nourishing. Natural. Kevin and I found each other and our hearts forged a pact. Two lifetimes of intention culminated into reality.

Now, he’s dead. He’s been dead three months, so I’m assuming there’s no return like characters on General Hospital, though I still hope. So, put me in the crazy bin!

If I’m smiling, I must be doing something right. I need to find the funny where I can and hold his love while gripped by grief.

So, I replay the weekend in May of 2014 when we turned our decades-long friendship into crazy, sexy, cool us. It’s weird to think if Kevin would’ve died any time before that, I would’ve lost a good friend. I would’ve cried when I heard the news or read it on Facebook.

I suspect it would’ve been similar to when my friend June died. I called to wish her belated Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. Her brother answered her phone and told me. Heart attack—I forgot about that. I remember I felt the loss of my friend.

June was the one I called when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. June told me about the stages of grief and the book On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

I said, “Thanks, June, but my mom’s not dying.” Those are words you don’t make somebody eat when they’re proven wrong, as I was four months later.

June introduced me to books like that one I never read, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gifts from The Sea. They sit on my shelf next to me and I haven’t thought of either in years. Or my friend June who died too soon, in her 50s, from a heart attack, like Kevin.

June’s death hurt, but it didn’t throw me into a pit of sadness like Kevin’s. This is a different kind of loss than losing my brother in my 20s or my mom—still in my 20s. They were part of my given foundation.

This grief is also different from what my sister endured a few years back when her husband of 33 years died. Jayne’s husband, marriage and family were her foundation. She didn’t just lose the love of her life; her everything crumbled. She could barely stand.

We’re told not to compare grief. I don’t do it to say I have it easier or harder; that’s impossible to know and completely unhelpful. Grief is grief. Comparing helps me understand the juxtaposition of uniqueness and universality.

 Here’s what I know. Grief hits. It hits hard, like Ali. It will knock you on your ass. Just when you think you’ve taken all you can, there will be more. It may or may not be commensurate to the quality of your connection with the deceased.

However, in this case, with Kevin, it seems it is. I suffer now because of the walls we abolished and the masks we trashed. Because we journeyed beyond where either of us ever experienced, it’s hard to come back alone.

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