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Writing Your Grief: Sharp

I was determined to make space, inner space for a poem. Loss made everything sharp.

I suffer from these brief weekends, the tearing up of the roots of love, and from my own inability to behave better under the stress. The poem is about silence, that it is really only there that lovers can know what they know, and there what they know is deep, nourishing, nourishing to the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

For a little while, it is as if my nakedness were clothed in love.
But then, when I come back, I shiver in my isolation, and must face again, and try to tame the loneliness.

– May Sarton, from Journal of a Solitude.

Sharp, a word loaded with meanings.

A sharp tongue: My filter has not worked for the last 171 days. I never lashed out before Caleb died. I often used sarcasm, wit, and snappy comebacks but I could control when I used them. Some people and some places do not handle those well. Not only do I not control the use of these but I say what I think most of the time. I would never dare to do that before.

A sharp edge: Anxiety pervades my life. Previously I had little to no anxiety. Now I become apprehensive going to the store, meeting a friend for coffee, going to work, inviting friends to my home, and so many other things.

A sharp response: I lose my cool much easier. In the past, my responses would be chill. Even under crisis, especially under crisis, I could keep a level head, think through what needed to happen, and calmly address the issues. I now make snap judgments which sometimes means I say things I do not want to say and I say them harshly. I sometimes yell. It is a stress-fueled, PTSD-like problem.

A sharp eye: Caleb is now everywhere. It is not like I see him but everything makes me see him. I see him in the yard which has no lights because he did not help me. I see him in his class ring I wear. He is in the pumpkin pie.

A sharp perspective: Never in my life have I have drawn such a sharp line. When the cops came to the door to inform us what happened, I was headed out to buy a vintage Super Beetle. The car is no longer for sale and I still have not purchased one. People discuss the horrible problems they have with their child and I think “That is not a big problem.” They have valid concerns and maybe they need to address behavior issues. Possibly the child needs discipline or tutoring. Maybe the child thinks they can no longer handle living with the parent and moves across the country. I would still envy these problems. My daughter is struggling with school and may need to repeat a grade. This used to be a huge deal yet now I think there are worse things.

Published inGrief

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