Good Grief


Grief is weird. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’ve been putting off writing this particular blog for a while. Then Prince died and it was back on my mind again, so I think it’s time.

I started seeing my therapist because I was grieving. I didn’t know that at the time. I was going through the worst breakup of my life at the time. My grad school graduation was looming. I thought it was just a quarter life crisis. It was also grieving. Grieving for a future that wouldn’t be. Grieving for a person that I wasn’t anymore (partner, student). Grieving for a relationship that no longer was. I did a lot of purging through that grief. Mentally, emotionally. I wanted to be rid of that relationship and everything that came with it. I wanted to purge. I wanted to get rid of the memories. I wanted to get rid of the feelings. I wanted to get rid of the gifts. I wanted to get rid of everything. I had an emptiness in me that felt like it would only be satiated if everything in me was emtpy. So, I gave in. I purged. I let go. I got rid of clothing, I got rid of letters, I got of pictures, and text messages, and songs that reminded me of him. I got rid of bad habits and lost weight. I wanted to be like a water glass or an empty bowl. I purged.

When that relationship FINALLY ended, nearly a sixteen months after the intial break up (after not speaking, and trying to be friends, and not speaking, and trying to be friends, ad naseum) I dove headfirst into a new relationship. I thought I was ready. I wasn't. That ended too, nearly as quickly as it started. I purged again.

My grandma died last winter. I thought I'd want to purge. The day after my family was notified by the hospice, I rearranged my bedroom and cleaned my closet. Over six hefty bags went to the garbage. It didn't feel right. I didn't feel right until my mother came home with boxes of my grandmother's old things. I wanted her old jewelry, her old dresses, her old photos. I wanted to know things about her that I had missed. I wanted to know about my family. I wanted to eat. I wanted to listen to music. I wanted my days to be full of family and friends and events. I wanted to live in every moment. I wanted to be full.

I left my job shortly after she died, under unhappy circumstances. I grieved again. My fear of the unknown is potent. I don't do well with change.

I don't understand the differences between these types of grief, but I do. I didn't think about it, until a few weeks ago. I was three beers deep on the dance floor at Emo Nite LA, shaking it to AFI and Fall Out Boy in a new dress (I was and still am losing the weight I put on in my grief). It hit me as I looked around at my friends, to my favorite songs, that for the first time in nearly three years I wasn't grieving something. The purging grief for a future that won't come to pass. Empty and hollow. The bingeing grief for a past that has come to an abrupt end. Filling and sweet.

David Bowie and Prince have not been easy for me. Is that trite? Overstated? I don't care. I cried hard. It hurts. Truth be told, I spent more time with them throughtout my life than my grandmother. I've wanted to go back and listen to their whole discographies. Watch all of their videos. Share all of my memories with other fans.

Grief is weird. It's something that I've been thinking about a lot, but I will never claim to fully understand it.