The thing about grief is that you never know when it’s going to sneak up behind you, whirl you around, and kick you in the teeth.
It can be during the most mundane moment, or in the middle of a task that you really need to concentrate on. It can be first thing in the morning or in the darkest hours of the night. It’s fast or it’s slow, it can creep up on little cat feet or stomp into your awareness in heavy combat boots.
And then you find yourself helplessly weeping over the things that were lost, the might-have-beens, the should-have-dones. Leaving you bereft, and sad, and having to feel everything all over again.
When we were home for Christmas, my daughter got an article of clothing that was Jewel’s. In keeping with Haudenosaunee custom, we give away a deceased person’s belongings, so that everyone has something to remember them by but also so that the person’s spirit will not be tied to the earth by their possessions and are free to continue their journey. Carole got a cool, neon-green crocheted beanie which she hardly took off for nearly a month until we agreed it had to get washed. But it was so imbued with Jewel’s style and her carefree joie-de-vie that we smiled and got all choked up in equal measure.
Days can pass and I can think of her without pain. Other days hit me like a brick and the pain arises anew.
And if this is happening to me, what must it be like for her mother and her father? For her brothers and all those who knew her better than I?
There has to be a way to prevent this kind of loss.
As for me, I’m facing some surgery arising from a whole shitty crisis with my kidneys, so perhaps my outlook is not as healthy as it could be. It’s the middle of January which is not my favourite time of the year, and I wasn’t well enough to go home and catch some of the Midwinter ceremony feasts. So I think I’m just feeling blue.
Hopefully this too shall pass. In the meantime I try to think of Jewel, dancing. That always makes me smile.