I’ve written about how my perspective about grief shifted dramatically when I lost my baby.
O. was sixteen, my younger boy, and watching him slip away was terrifying. Living without him is like having a runaway boulder follow me around every single day. Some days it drops from above and crushes me from top to bottom. Other days it rolls into my side, making me stumble and lose my balance and I’m left scraped and flat on the roadway. Some days I see it coming and can step aside, but not quite fast enough. It grazes an arm or bangs into my knee. Hard.
I thought tragedy barreled into other people’s lives, lives I could witness from afar, feel empathy for, have thoughts and sadness stick with me and morph into gratitude–those “at least…” sentences I’d construct while checking email or folding laundry. I had no idea what a takedown grief is, how debilitating and exhausting. Yes, there’s hope and healing and comfort. Resilience even.
When I saw these real, wise, and raw pieces by Eirinie Carson, a writer twenty years my junior, I had to amplify her voice. This is what grief is for those of us in it all the time:
I got to return to the Apple Barn for Carson’s The Dead are Gods: Writing Through Grief workshop. During that workshop, she shared the first part of her forthcoming memoir, a piece The Sonora Review will publish soon. That, and all the time we participants shared in our grief was not somber, but uplifting and inspirational. I’ve been working hard on two new essays this summer and revisiting the past. The deep dive into grief with new people in a new space, helped open me up to the present, giving me some energy, and I was able to extend my love for sweet Owen outward.
End-of-summer update: While looking for suitable sites for my audio work, I came across Dance Cry Dance Break and clicked on a sample. I landed on Carson’s mesmerizing fictional work Swim Deep, read by her, and paired with original music by Elhel called Outskirts. Stunning. Listen for yourself: