Hello, Grief. It’s me.
That Adele song came out. It kind of sounds like me talking to you. Because I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be.
You and me, we’ve been together a while. You came into my life uninvited, and you’ve made it clear you’re here to stay. So we are together for 10 months now.
Sometimes you let me think I’m on my own again and I breathe a little. I like being on my own. I prefer to not have you in my life; I’ve made that perfectly clear.
I feel closed in by you. You label me : “GRIEVER!” You box me in: “GRIEVE!”
You don’t really give me any space, Grief. So I’m thinking about when we were younger and free. I didn’t need you then, and you had someone else and I had a lot of someone elses. I had joy and pleasure and efficiency and a sense of humor and a belief that my dad wouldn’t die. The belief was so strong that I didn’t even need to pay it much attention. It just was. He was alive.
Hello again, though.
Lately you’ve tried out a new trick, joining me in my dreams. You don’t even give me peace when I sleep, Grief. What’s up with that? Not cool.
In your defense, maybe you thought I’d forgotten you, so you have devised a way to make me not able to forget you even in my sleep. Okay. That’s clever, I suppose. Message received. But still unwanted, really. I thought I told you I don’t want you. But you keep coming back.
It’s like I can never make it out of this town. All that happens here is Grief.
So hello from the other side, Grief. Not the other side of you, clearly. No. Just the other side of this first year of Grief. It’s “almost a year” really.
And that sounds like my year is almost up. Because it is. You are going to thrust me back into a world where I can’t say, “My dad just died,” expecting that the majority of people I say that to will cut me some slack. For forgetting their birthday. For missing that call. For not being able to respond or react right to pretty much anything.
After a year, a large majority of people won’t understand what that means that I lost my dad 13 months ago. 16 months ago. 18 months ago. 3 years ago. 10 years ago. 25 years ago. They won’t understand.
And so it seems we will be together forever. But you call the shots, Grief. You decide when and where and how to show up. And I can’t send you away. I can’t act like I don’t need you because you don’t care what I act like. You just keep reminding me you’re there. There is such a difference between us.
(This is part of an ongoing series by Mayim Bialik chronicling her journey through the year of mourning following her father’s death in April 2015. For previous pieces in this series, click here.)