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  • Scott Bowman

Grief is close today

Watching someone I love grieving a deep and sudden loss. Trying to find silence in a house that yells with pain. I don’t know what to make of grief. It is, at some level, a physical process I know. Trying to find a new correlation between the inner world that doesn’t want to change and the outer one that refuses to listen. It makes me think of phantom limbs, the conjured pain the brain sometimes makes when some violence suddenly changes the configuration of the body. There, in the unthinking air, a hand might still seem to clench, a leg might cramp, as the brain reels and tries to rectify what it knows with what it needs to believe.

It is a crazy process, chaotic, sad, vivifying, strange. A bit like miniature golf. At first you’re looking down the little green corridor and it seems relatively straight-forward, what you have to do. But then you’re bouncing through the windmill, and hidden holes of memory take strange paths and pinball outcomes until you don’t know where you are, and just finding yourself is hard. Then it looks doable again, if it takes a few tries to catch your breath, putt out and pick up your ball. Then on to the next, crazier than the one before - par 6... please get a move on... the world is waiting to play behind you...

What had been past, present and future now only a landscape receding in the rearview, changing scale, a palimpsest of detail written over by the effort to remember, retreating to a suggestion of mountains in the distance, its passes, trials, victories fading.

I am so sad today.

I have been fortunate, I suppose, until now to not see grief like this close up. My family, my loved ones are safe and whole and I treasure them. But so many of my friends have moved through this, many of the people I care most about, many more than once. And even now as I swim in it, like the ocean I cannot comprehend it.

You who have suffered loss and grief, or who suffer it now I wish, for a moment I might reach through that veil and take your hand. I have nothing else to offer, but the wish that I might join you there, for a heartbeat or three, until we each must pick up the day again.

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