I don’t write anymore anything I can read back to myself out loud. I haven’t written about it in months. He tells me he understands how my writing is nonlinear, how I excavate the past in order to make sense of the present, in order to hold conversations and court with those who currently grieve. I can’t keep people close who don’t respect the process. I find relief in this.
I get your grief, it comes in waves on my shore of where I now live. And I read your letters from Russia, from Paris, from Poland, from Idaho as if they were my own. Written years ago and mailed to my future self. Claims on how the waters move, how the day leaves you stranded, how we sell ourselves short up stream just to get a little sleep. I get your grief.
Writing, pain, and love are all nonlinear. My hurting then doesn’t free me or negate the hurting now, it just gives me something to look at. A place I once visited and took soil samples of, rested them on the selves in my kitchen so I would have something to write about when the orange tree stopped blooming for the season.
But, I get it. I ache your ache, just as you will always ache it too. It’s not something you get over, it’s there forever. You just have to learn to live with it, make room at the table. Because it is always staying for dinner.
The most we get, is a new relationship to it, a vantage point we didn’t know existed, a distance that feels like safety so we no longer have to share a bed with the things that pain us. But I get it, and when you write to me I remember it. And you tell me about the cold mornings and how you wake up at five, and you wonder if he still likes honey in his tea and if he sleeps at night, and if says your name in the shower. He does and then he does not.
And it is the one thing we all have in common, the one thing everyone asks for as if I am dealing in elixirs at my backdoor- how did you do it. Which truly means, how do I do it. And I say the same thing to you as I said to myself, you just hurt it out. You brace for the worst and you drink coffee and walk a lot and you braid it’s hair. And when I say that I mean, be intimate with your pain. If you try to run away or drown it, it will only come back three-five-one-hundred fold. No one else gets to answer the door besides you.
So, yes, I still after all this time get your grief. And when I read your letter it feels like me. Because love, pain, and grief are non linear. You can feel them, and write about them, and live them always.