“Where is your son?”, sighed a soft masculine voice in a southern drawl.
“He left me,” I replied turning to face who asked.
No one is there. Odd. I know I heard it. Didn’t I?
“I miss him,” said the voice.
“Yeah,” as I spin around. “Who … where are you?”
I feel the weight on my shoulders again. It’s been there for a while, months maybe. I wonder why my back is so sore. I walk past a mirror and I catch a glimpse.
“Where is he?”
This time as he asks I see it. A shadowy creature is parasitically embedded in my back at the shoulders. I cannot see him if I look at the creature but I can steal a glimpse out of the corner of my eye at will. Speaking so softly, so soothing yet the words are venom. Every word burns like poison to my ears.
“I asked a question,” it said.
“No, mine first. Who are you?”
“I am you. I am Grief. Don’t you remember who I am?”
On a sunny Sunday, I was leaving to purchase my dream car. Two county deputies walk up the sidewalk. Reeling, I step back and lean against the wall in total shock. My wife is wailing beside me. Did I hear this cop on my porch correctly? I did. Numbness floods my emotions. I have to figure out what I need to do. All the commotion, shock and numbness masks the weight that fell on my back. The weight; it was Grief! It was jolted out and landed on my back, knocking me back into the wall. I had not recognized what had happened.
“Just go away!” I implore.
“Can’t do that. Where is my son?!”
“I am you. Keep up! Why did he leave?”
“I don’t know.”
I don’t know. It makes no sense. Why did he leave? Where is he? I have no answers for Grief, for me. I want to get through this day so I can get through the next.
“Why are you asking me these questions? If you are me, then you know what I will say.”
Grief responds, “I am trying to help you through this.”
Help me? How does this help me? Let me immerse in work. Allow me to preoccupy myself with NetFlix. Let me forget that he … NO! I do not want to forget him! Remembering brings pain but forgetting removes him. Grief is right. I need to be prodded.
“I understand I need help. Can I have a few minutes of peace though so I can finish putting up this Christmas tree?”
“Caleb always fluffed the branches into shape with you. He was so good at making it look natural.” Grief reminded.
“Seriously?! Is there nothing I can do in peace?”
“I thought you wanted memories. Oh, and he always pointed the angel toward the front door.”