Writing about grief is difficult. For me, not only is there a resurgence of incredibly unpleasant feelings, but the writerly nag of being precise with my language and not repeating myself. For instance, when I have a day like this, I get very specific physical sensations like nausea, pain in my chest and weight on my body along with anger, fear and extreme sadness. I don’t want to say over and over that there is a hole in my heart, though that is the best description, because that would be boring and belongs in a private journal, nor do I want to describe to readers what it is like to want to throw up—they know.
What I do want to do is write openly about grief in a culture that is ashamed of it. I want to help grieving people by showing them that they are not alone, that their feelings of loss are not excessive or insane. I want to help the loved ones of grieving people understand that it just doesn’t go away and how memories haunt objects, places, smells. I want to show how grief affects a depressed person; how I feel a little uncomfortable with the fact that, because of the medical care I’ve received and the hard work I do every day, I feel better than I ever have in my life, despite this sucking wound. I want to talk about how sometimes, (rarely now), grief and depression do a little dance that would have me hanging from the rafters if not for my new-found patience to ride it out. I want to honor my brother and the gifts he gave me by striving to write well and help others that need it.
I want to write my survivor story.
Thank you to all the strangers and friends that have written me over the years to support my writing on this unfun matter. Thanks to all the people who come here to read about books or comics and stick around for all of it. This biggest thank you goes to the people who have lived this with me and who continue to do the hard thing in order to make life easy.