There is something about grief that goes against everything I was ever taught, and that is; if you work really hard you can fix something. Or: If you want something bad enough you can get it. Or: Bootstraps bla bla bla. The truth is, is that there is no coming back. The truth is, is that there is nothing to come back to. There are no bootstraps, there is no fixing or filling or striving or commandeering this. It resides in me, it is me, I am bereft, I am hollow, yet I am full, I am a ghost and yet I also chase ghosts. There is nothing to believe in. Eventually I come back into the world in whatever broken way I can because I have bills, but I am never fully back in.
The wind blows through me, no amount of self care in the world can fix this gaping, living, breathing hole that now resides in my heart and eats all of my food. It is like that parasite that lives in clown fish and replaces their tongues I may curl my hair, wear lipstick, laugh with friends, just like the parasite host; the fish goes about it’s life. Humans put on their human bodies and we participate in the world, but for the grieving one’s, our heart is not in the game. We have loved ones, and we have care and we know survival and all of these things are in picture frames that decorate our lives but we are like a sheet hanging on the line with the breeze blowing through it moving however it likes. That little parasite always visible.
I can understand hoarders now. Watching that show, I used to get so mad at the people wanting to keep old diapers and dried up, dead cats, and mounds of rotten food. All of these people had a common string of loss somewhere in their story. Sometimes it was a divorce, or big a life change and sometimes it actually was a death. Something happened to them that they never came back from the ‘thing’ that broke them. I empathized with this in their stories but I always got so mad that they would rather hang on to that stuff so much so, that their water would be shut off by the city and they’d poop in a bag over moving on. They always kept all the stuff that reminded them of their ‘before’ life. The thing that they ‘missed’. I understand it now.
I have all of Savannah’s things. I don’t have a closet in my studio apartment. There is one little built in cabinet thingy that serves as a closet and me being the master of organization have found a way to keep all of her things and mine in an orderly fashion and still have my apartment space. I have all of her books, clothes, stuffed animals, journals, makeup, hair products, lotions, hair ties and bandannas. I have her shampoo and conditioner. She had just bought colossal sizes of both as she was moving into her own place, but she died. I am to the point now that those things are starting to run out. I am ignoring how much this upsets me.
I know she is dead, I know she is not coming back, I know that if I don’t have these things anymore that all of this will still be happening but I don’t want to run out of the shampoo and conditioner. I don’t want to use all of the lotions. Do I expect to have these things around until I myself die? I don’t know. I am not thinking about the future in any way shape or form, I am just worried about the running out of her things. That’s the other thing grief did to me, it took away my ability to see or care about my future. Funny that that’s what Zen is supposed to be like. The Here and Now of it all.
Given this careless future thingy, I have been going about my life in a sort of fearless manner. Moving to a new city, changing every habit that I’ve ever had, reading voraciously like I did when I was a kid, lying motionless in bed for hours and days sometimes; breaking every rule I’ve ever made for my adult self. Applying for a job I never thought I’d get because it sounded amazing and like I’d be perfect for it. Telling people what I think of things, not giving two fucks if I upset them because I no longer try to guess how they feel. I do not having the capacity to take care of another soul nor worry about if they can take care of mine and this has changed me and the way I am my SELF to others. Getting the job I never thought I’d get. I got it.
I have a salaried job. I can pay my rent. I will be making food for people and running the whole entire kitchen system at a safe-house. I get to take care of people by just being there and helping them feed themselves and by existing in this form, I can help them. I found out my previous frat house job had a GM who was manipulating my position there and thought I was taking advantage of them so he was not giving me the hours I needed. WOW. That’s what prompted this. I refused to beg for hours all summer and thought I’ll just work somewhere else. I fretted and cried and worried and this man shit on this grieving mom for months and looked me in the eye and called himself ‘my family’. Ironically enough, nothing could be more true.
Since I no longer care or need permission to have my feelings, I found all of this out because I spoke up. It got worse and worse; the information I found out. It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done is stand up and voice myself with no editor or no worry about ‘how I seem’. I didn’t let ‘the men talk’ and I blew everything up in their faces and none of it really matters anyway. It changed my life so drastically for the better; to take these actions, and this call to adventure, that now, I can’t believe I am in the position I am in in this body in my life right now. I want to hoard more shampoo. I always want to have her lotions.
I am breaking out of my life into a life I didn’t even know could be mine. It is not mine. It is the other self’s life. I feel like a cardboard cut out of me is doing all of these things. I am also going after the rehabilitation center where Savannah died. One person against the broken machine of a system who profits from people’s fears and pain. Joining with Shatterproof so I can be an advocate for change. I hate groups, but they have a platform dedicated to this very thing. Right now I am one lady going ballistic online, calling journalists, the DEA, planning a march, calling and writing anyone and any system involved in this same broken system that created it. It’s like watching the beginning of 2001 a Space Odyssey.
The awful evolution, the overacting extras in monkey suits, the beautiful music, all part of the system that we just accept and help create just by being in it. Watching monkey’s and being a monkey. Asking monkey’s for help. Some of the monkey’s are like me and lost in the same system and doing their part to fight back. Given the number of opioid deaths in this country however, this small army is growing, but it is hard to fight things from under grief. Sometimes you just want the monkey’s to have their bones so you can just go back to bed.
My cardboard cutout buys healthy food but my real self doesn’t see the point in living a healthy life. I eat the food. I also sneak away from healthy Judy and buy cake and candy and sugar and beer. So many rules have defined my life that I just can’t bear to stick to any now.
There are nightmares and re-reading of journals and texts and thinking back to when she was three or seven or thirteen and wondering if I could have done something different. How did such a brave, strong, sensible, discreet kid get into heroin? It must have been something done to her or her psyche. Or is it just a shot in the dark that gives us all our lives and demeanor’s and pain and pleasures? Why am I still here when I should have been dead a thousand times already? I picked up hitchhikers. I drove drunk. I let men beat me. Is it like Groundhog Day or Russian Doll where the main character tries to save the life of someone so many different ways only to watch them die anyway? If I went back in time and changed that one day would she have died in another year from a different thing? I would spend a lifetime looking for that day.
Is she mad at me for talking about this? Is she in a better place? Is human life really this stupid?
Even if you shut all of this off; all of this universe crap and ‘better place’ crap, you still have grief. You still have the hole. You can appear in any way shape or form here on this earth and you will always be beside yourself. Literally, you can look over and see yourself standing there. Both of you with the same look on your face.
I can buy more shampoo.
It will always be her shampoo.