Short Story: My Friend Grief

Grief is my visitor. He won’t stay long, yet long enough.

I recall the night he knocked on my door. The shadows of my newfound solitude invited me inward. I was pleased with myself, and deserving of a reward for making a difficult decision. In a pleasant mood, I was about to open a bottle of wine. A bold Merlot, you know.

Just as I grazed my fingertips upon the dusty green bottle, and sensed a thirst in my cheeks, I heard my visitor tapping. Somehow, I knew that it wasn’t a time for celebration.

Observing a shift within me, like the descent of an elevator, touching down on the basement floor, I went for the door. I promised myself the wine would flow at the right time.

It was late night and the rain was pouring down. Many memories washed over me as the cold draft met my skin. Grief stood on my heart-shaped porch, without a cover, awaiting his welcome. I touched my chest as a single tear fell. My old friend was back again.

We have a bittersweet relationship, Grief and I, and still, I call him friend. He’s taught me  much during his extended stays. We know each other well.

He’s like the night that falls, on schedule, bringing shadows and obscurity. I had learned to appreciate the sunlight, for the evening would come, soon enough.

I opened the door wide for him. He picked up two pieces of luggage, regret and growing pains, and silently stepped in. I took his coat and hat. He made himself at home.

For the first night, we sat before the fire. We didn’t speak to each other. We didn’t sleep. We just sat there, feeling the others’ presence.

I tried to open my heart to him, to accept him, and resist the urge to run. Avoidance behavior cost me so much trouble in the past. Now, life is much simpler, but it means acceptance of Grief, of who he really is.

Sometimes the moonlight shines through the kitchen window, and I can sing and dance as I celebrate my tender heart. He stares at me, his bushy eyebrows scrunched in confusion. His knees, bent at his chin, as he sits on the bottom step. He doesn’t understand how I can laugh and play when he’s around. I try to explain to him what it means to have joy. I think he likes the idea.

Other times, though, he comes to me at night. He sits at the foot of my bed, and it seems that we can hear each others’ thoughts. I speak the sadness of my heart, hoping the sound might absorb my pain. I tell her that everything is okay, and that I’ll always love and think of her, and that I pray for her every day and night. I wonder if her heart can hear mine. Then, sometimes, I cry.

I’m not sure how long he’s staying, but I can’t rush him away. If I’m going to heal, it’s going to take time, and I should give him all the time he needs. Really, I’m doing this for myself. No band-aids, no cover-ups, no crutches or addictions. No denial or repression, no avoidance behavior.

It’s just me and my friend Grief.

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Author: Ikaika Torres

Shamanic practitioner, writer, filmmaker, friend

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