I remember coming back from Mongolia and being glad nobody died while I was away. Before I left my mom did frequently bring up the question of what to do if I
died – sorry – “passed away” over there; and I may be the youngest person I know to have a list of pallbearers ready.
Odd thoughts? Perhaps.
Sometimes I think I’m warped.
My mom just says “Experienced.”
Anyways, I came back from Mongolia. And nobody had died.
Now it’s a different story. Another season. Another chapter, another chunk. A season that will be darkly coloured in several lives I know.
However, this time circumstances are not mine. It’s other families, in outer circles. A few steps away but not out of reach. You may have heard about Kris, and that’s not been the only event since I got back.
I don’t believe in tragedy lists, for life and death is not a competition. Therefore, I’m not listing the hard stories I’ve observed since getting back. Let’s just say there’s been a few. If life hasn’t been fair to me, it hasn’t been fair to anyone else either. Our lists may look different and our pain comes at different times and different pictures and I cannot judge, sneer, or compare.
Nobody knows what’s going on inside a life for not all battles come with chemo and a bald head, or take place at the ICU. If you know my family, you’ll know that some of my family’s hard things have just happened to be a little more public than others’.
That aside, I will tell you that I’m listening to Tenth Avenue North’s song “Worn” tonight. It’s one of those nights. One where you’re looking at hurt. Hard. Maybe looking at some pain too, I don’t know.
A friend was given a number, you see. The number of months expected to live.
And yet, I’m okay. I don’t know if it’s because it’s not in my family and I’m awful for even considering that for why I’m not in shock (or maybe I am), or maybe I’m in denial and shutting it out to avoid the hurt that news like this brings. or if I’m just too tired to allow the familiar feelings of grief wash over me. I am reminded that grief is exhausting.
I always thought my Mom coined the term ‘Pre Grieving’, but a quick google tells me it really is a ‘thing’. Of course it is; I have a smart mama!
And I think that’s where I’m at. I am subtly grieving as I listen to this song and absorb it all, rather realistically. Looking at the hard news from a few steps away, deciding where I stand on this one. Half way between processing and shutting it out. Halfway between hurting and ignoring.
I’m half way between calloused heart and empathetic neighbour,
because I know what grief is, and that means something.
It is far enough removed that I could very well block it out and choose not to go there, not to touch it, the dark and ugly.
But I get it.
I don’t want to, but I do. I could think of what’s next for this family, but I don’t want to. Not so much denial as resistance through apathy. I don’t want to be involved. I’m screaming between “Yup. That’s life and it sucks. See y’all in heaven.” and wondering how they’re doing. Wondering if anyone has gone to drop off chocolate milk for the kids…