I wrote a piece of writing in my notebook whilst on holiday last week. We went to Northern Ireland and had a wonderful time. It is such a beautiful and tranquil place, just being there was good for my soul (more on that in another post).
So instead of just posting this piece like I usually do with non-fiction creative writing, I wanted to introduce it. This is because it might sound like I was in a pit whilst on our holiday. I wasn’t. I had the loveliest week.
Being surrounded by stunning views inspired me to write. At the same time, it brought on feelings of sadness. I missed my Dad.
The week before we went I saw a family friend and told him where we were going. He said, “I went to Northern Ireland with your Dad, years ago. We saw the Giant’s Causeway.” I enjoyed the thought of that as we marvelled at the hexagonal rocks, and walked the paths at that same landmark.
But I also wished that I could tell him about our trip. I wished I could hear more about his and see if we did and saw any other of the same sights.
That, right there, is what it’s like living with grief. To say I had a fantastic week, but that I also felt sad because of it. It’s like a permanent, hovering grey cloud. Like the ones in the photo below.
The problem is, it’s hard to put into words. Do the grey clouds ruin the photo? I don’t think so.I love this picture. It is somewhat captivating to look at. Our grey cloud doesn’t taint life, just as it didn’t taint our trip to the beach. That’s the wrong word because you don’t want it gone. It’s there forever now – a permanent part of the picture.
Some days, it just hovers there in the background. Other days it is heavy, hard to bear, pregnant with tears. The photo above is as striking as it is because of the dynamic arrangement of the clouds in the sky. The grey cloud throws into contrast the beauty surrounding it; the rays of light beaming down, nearby. Similarly, the magnificent moments I experience in life are accentuated by grief, somehow swelling my gratitude as well as my pain.
So, without further ado. Here it is:
I’m not an angry person. But I know the way that loss can chew you up and spit you out. Harder. Grisly. A rage bubbling away, cooking you from the inside out. I’m not even thinking angry thoughts:
“God, why didn’t you…?”
“Doctors, why didn’t you…?”
It’s just there, with no obvious rhyme or reason. Though when I ponder it, I know I am angry. I am angry at something.
I am angry at you, life. Simply for the way you are. The way I can’t control you. You throw things in my path that I stumble over or am completely bowled over by.
I’m annoyed by your inconsistency. You can’t just be good and then be bad, all in different measures! One day I’m floating on a cloud, the next I’m being held upside down by my ankles, shaken up, and emptied out.
I am angry with the way you treat others that I love, and also the stranger. I am angry that I could have been one of those needing to flee, to bury their families, to see children blasted away.
I’m angry that you dangle carrots without hesitation; beauty, love, freedom. They can appear to be ours for the taking. Often fleeting, or failing us.
You also dangle dreams. We strive and sweat, breathless, leaping up to grab the tip. Some reach it, some don’t. It’s cruel.
I know you’re good in many ways. But some days the anger overwhelms all that.
So, life. There’s one thing I can control. Not what you do, but what I do in response. I’m not simply going to be a product of what you throw at me. A piece of meat, growing tougher, year after year. Less caring, less kind. Colder, harder. I don’t want to be that.
Instead, I’ll look to the being who does know, who does understand, who claims to be in control of your mess yet is wholly and entirely good. A mystery I can only believe, or not.
I just know, for always, it has enabled me to get up and face you again tomorrow.