31 August 2015

Grief: Art and Time

Written 19 July 2015, 11.35pm. All references to elapsed time are based on this composition date.

Grief is a strange thing.

On one hand, I feel like I should be processing everything by creating art -- writing, dancing, something. That's how I escape everything else. But inspiration doesn't come... I'm not a total slave to 'the muse' but I've been doing this long enough that certain project ideas will sort of draw me in. I've gotten fairly good at knowing which ideas are ready to be concretely worked out and which ones need more incubation time. Lately though, there aren't really any ideas at all.

This is strange for me. Ever since I could read I've had writing ideas, and I've had choreography percolating in my head since I was seven. To suddenly not have that is so strange. It's like a part of me is gone -- gone beyond the stars where my friend and my cousin disappeared to.

I remember about five months after my friend's mother died, asking how she was doing and if she'd been doing anything artistic lately. She told me no, she hadn't really, the last time she tried to do something artistic she ended up painting an entire canvas black. It seemed odd to me at the time, but I thought Hey, people have different ways of processing grief. But now I can relate to that. The emptiness of everything, the trying to forget, the acute awareness that you feel nothing and wishing you could and then wishing you wouldn't. I almost have to forget what happened and the role they played in my life if I'm going to be able to get out of bed every morning, but if I forget them, all kinds of guilt comes crashing in on me at two-week intervals and I become a basket case. I can't go on like this.

The worst of it is when people seem to think that I should be over it. You don't get over this. You don't -- not ever. Even before it happened to me I knew that death changes everything in the lives of those close to them. And this wasn't just one... this was three in three months. The last was at the end of April... that's only two and a half months ago. Surely you don't expect me to be back to 'all's right with the world' yet? Who recovers from the death of a child? Who recovers from the death of a very close friend? Who on earth is over it in less than three months?

I know it's awkward. I know it's hard to know what to say. I've been (or at least tried to be) the comforter too. But please, please... don't expect me to be 'over it.' You don't 'get over' this. You just don't.

And in the absence of art to escape and now that I no longer even have time to listen to music anymore... don't leave me. I've lost so many people already this year, don't walk away from me if you can at all help it.

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