Of Grief

“They draped themselves in the color of death to attend its victory party.”

Today I’m attending a funeral. My first one, actually. I wonder if it is blind luck that I’ve not experienced someone close to me passing before now, but my anxieties whisper that it is a deficiency. The lack of people that I’ve been close to is the culprit, not a stroke of luck that those I loved didn’t pass while I was at their side. It is evidence of the empty places in my life, and not something I should be grateful for. I don’t know if this is correct, or just the grief talking. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Mourning is strangely familiar, which is unexpected and comforting. My emotions have gone into a sort of autopilot, guiding me through the process without much thought. It is, as I should have guessed before, almost identical to recovering from trauma. The only difference is that the fear doesn’t come from the source. Her passing is not what terrifies me, her disappearance in this world not frightening, though it is incredibly sad. I miss her place in existence, freshly vacated. It pains me to know that she’s gone, but the fear that normally comes with such pain is not because of her leaving.

What scares me is time. I have, since learning of the loss, been listing all the moments that can now never be. Some of the moments would have been mine, others hers alone, my presence no part in it. The common thread is that they do not and cannot exist.

Time, to me, is more terrifying than death. Death is steady, it’s final. It knows what it is, and it will always be the same. Circumstances can change, but death itself? It’s been running its game for too long now to mess it up. That door always has the same lock and key, the same address. The roads you take to get there change, but the destination remains a fixed point, possibly the only one in the universe.

Time, however, is fickle. It can march fast or slow, slipping by unnoticed when you aren’t paying attention. It marks change, but it doesn’t have to. Time can pass without anything moving at all. It can take moments from you that you never even knew you had, all because it disappeared when you weren’t looking.

My biggest fear is that, when all my moments have been counted, I’ll have more missing than I kept. More things lost in the shuffle than gained. That all those days that were drowned in monotony or recovery or nonsense, that those will outnumber the ones where I filled the hours with words or love or laughter. That the empty spaces will outnumber the occupied ones.

I fear that when I am out of time, I will pass like a whisper that no one can hear. That the things I gave to the world with the minutes I spent will disappear and be forgotten. That I was, in the end, a waste of good time.

So today I will attend a funeral and say goodbye, and I think the thing that I wish most is that her time was full. Regardless of how much she was given, or how much was taken from her that she should have had after, I hope that the moments there were lived in. That she can look back from wherever she has gone and say that her time meant what she wanted it to.

And to all of you, I hope that your day is full of minutes and seconds that you can count. Hours that you notice. I hope that every day is filled, with whatever it is you fill it with so that all of that time matters.

I hope, dearly, that none of you lose any of your time.

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