Grief can be compared to a great many things. I have compared it to a rock – stuck inside of the self. The self, tumbles it time and time again. Eventually the rock is smoothed out and growing smaller with each run through the self’s cycle. Grief can sail on a ship disguised as the life you did not live. Yet, how can you know when you’ve bid the ship a bon voyage at last? How many times have I thought I’d forgiven, accepted, and moved on – only to be shown that I’m wrong – when I claim I hate the grief within me? If you have forgiven, have moved on, can you not cease to feel the pain of hate?
I was dying to have my own room away from the small place my boyfriend and I inhabited. I felt like a zoo animal who had known wild freedom. Like a big cat, I paced, I snapped, I slept. My boyfriend devised a solution and spent weeks in the cold rain bringing it to life. He flattened fifty-square feet with a mini-excavator. He erected a tent he’d made for his own purposes and inside of it he built me a shrine. Hours, days, and weeks of labor went into the room he built for me. Hours, days, and weeks of self-hatred flowed through me as I idly waited. Ultimately, it rotted on the land, unused.
I wanted to love the place he made me. The feeling that kept driving me was fear. My actions said hate. Did I not know how to take actions that spoke love? What I hated, and why, can’t be named just now. Maybe it was the helplessness I assumed. Maybe I had stepped into a role that was all wrong and hated myself for making a foolish commitment. Maybe I hated because out of habit. Maybe I had never known how to do a thing for myself and hated that. Maybe I hated seeing another do what I could not. Maybe I hated being near a fire and not feeling it within.
Grief can take the shape of anger pointed outward or disgust pointed in. I’m sorry for everything I did or did not do that contributed to the demise of our life together. I wish I had done everything differently.
Grief is a house of cards. As soon as I know I wish I had done it all better, I know that the ship has sailed; the tumbler has stopped; and the wind has blown all the cards down. From a great tower I fell and crawling from the rubble taught me about creating my own inner fire.
Nothing could have been different. Nothing of the past can change. All the lessons and strength I gathered were born from the grief. If I had been a different person, going into the life we hoped to build together, I would not have been there at all. Nothing about the past can be changed. No wishing can revive what is dead.
I’m primarily happy in my life now. It lacks much of the soul broth I sought when I entered that life with my boyfriend, but I have inner fire now. Inner fire can cast anything into being. Inner fire can build up the ship of my current life and can let the ghost ship sail on into its own fog.