I experience my grief in a room that has been closed off from the rest of me. The room is dark and cobwebby…and typically no one wants to go visit this creepy room with me. So sometimes, when I’m in the car or alone at night, I walk over to the door I otherwise ignore and let myself into the room of grief. And I walk around…gently touching memories that sit in this room as though they are historical proof of a messy life lived. I reach out and gingerly touch these memories to see if I can handle the pain they bring.
Some touches are automatically too painful and I yank back…like thinking of how my ex used to pull me into the crook of his arm so I could lay my head on his chest while he talked to me. Or when I think of how I loved and lost an amazing dog…only to see him one last time and have him remember me and give me so much love before getting taken away again. Oh those memories…the historical artifacts of my grief room…they bring different types of pain. Some pains are jagged and sharp, like I picked up shattered glass open-palmed and just clung to the shards while they cut me. Some pains are dull, like I stuck my hand in a bathtub that was a little too warm. Some pains are throbbing and full of anger, like I jammed my finger by misjudging how close I was to picking up something…the anger is at myself…results of my own flawed judgment beyond that of spatial awareness.
You would think time would allow some of these memories to lessen in their pain…that’s what we always say, right? Time heals all wounds? Not to me…to me, time just brings more relics of pain to be stacked in this room. They pile up so high that I can’t even see the artifacts of pain from the past. If I shoved the newer memories aside to get to the relics, I would look at the memories from a distance and think that time has elevated some of the pain because the memory is dull…but once I pick a memory up and wipe off the dust, I expose another still-jagged edge. Don’t be deceived by dust, Savannah, that pain is still very real and very sharp.
Sometimes I walk into this room and I don’t give myself the courtesy of leaving judgment of myself at the door. I slam the door of the room open and walk around picking up memories and gripping them tightly with my hands, forcing myself to feel that grief, that pain…with blood dripping down my hands as the memory plays. I drop a memory and run to the next one, because that one is just a little more painful, and no, I don’t care if I don’t want to relive this, I need to…grip it more tightly…cry…get angry…then toss that memory aside too. Don’t set it down gently. Fuck that memory and fuck that pain. Let’s find something worse….it’s times like those that I will look up at some point and realize I was destroying the artifacts, not handling them or myself with grace and forgiveness…coming to my senses I look up and see the room is destroyed…so I walk to the front of the room, cringing a bit as I gently lock the room back up, wishing my future self “good luck” upon reopening the door to my now-destroyed room of grief.