Tuesday, December 01, 2009

way down in a hole

So as you've probably noticed and as I've already addressed, I'm a bit hung up on this topic of grief. I'll get more to the why's and what's to this a little later, I'm sure, although I'm (mostly) happy to report that the raw emotions I shared below of the past few weeks have subsided. Time and the need to Get On With Our Lives demands that be the case but, inevitably, as I think about it now, there's a little bit of mourning that's in order for the end of mourning, so to speak.

Loss is something that's approached, processed and, if we're lucky, worked through -- preferably as fast as possible, at least while we're in the moment. God knows its not an experience anyone wants to have or hardly enjoys -- barring what I'd imagine are a couple fetishists out there (don't tell me there aren't, the very fact you're reading these words indicates you're on the Internet, and as such are aware of what a playground of fringe behavior it exposes we humans to be).

Yet while we are in the middle of what generally is crushing, all-encompassing, kick-you-in-the-tender-bits grief, it's truly striking how powerful it is. Think of this as the part in the movie where some scientist, probably of European descent, holds of a vial or perhaps stares intently at a microscope and marvels at a virus/alien being/professional killer's power, it's simplicity. And grief more certainly is both of those. I'd argue it's the most powerful emotion we can have.

At the heart -- or heartlessness -- of its strength is its speed, its inherent ability to go from Nothing to Everything in your field of vision in a matter of seconds. All it takes is a reminder, a part of the carefully tended system that you've built to fight off its relentless advances to fail and essentially you're back to start as far as assembling yourself for public viewing.

The most recent example I have of this happened last week, when Shenoa's eye doctor's office sent along a wonderfully sweet sympathy card, some two weeks removed from the Event. They had heard from our across-the-street neighbor, I'm sure, who by some then-wonderful coincidence worked at the same office where for years Shenoa received an assortment of magical and at times wildly expensive eye drops to combat her glaucoma. She frequently dropped Shenoa's prescription at our doorstep, saving us a drive out to Arcadia, which for those of you who don't know your Southern California geography is near absolutely nothing else of interest for our household.

ANYWAY, our neighbor told her office, who in turn sent a card, which I received last Saturday. I was ready for it -- I saw the return address, I knew what it was, I was -- as much as anyone can be to face grief -- Prepared.

Yet there I was, seconds after opening the card and its packed white space of hand-written messages of condolences from everyone on the office's staff, crying into my hand as suddenly as if I'd been hit with a bat -- even faster, because even then there's the moment of surprise and, presumably, the desire to get your shit together because, hey, you've been hit by a bat shouldn't something be done about this?

Its speed was truly remarkable.

I was fine, had things to do, was on my way somewhere else and was then, as I am now, at a sort of peace with saying goodbye to our beloved dog, and then I wasn't. It passed almost as quickly, but I'm still impressed with its capabilities. Attention, respect for its strength, must be paid.

But as I said, I'm back to 'OK' now, which I'm sure is a relief to you, gentle reader, who stumbled on her looking for a Boris MP3 I posted three years ago and may be puzzled, if you've gotten this far, why this guy can't stop talking about his late pets. So, yeah, I'm hesitant to follow through on my promise below of sharing the lengthy and hot-with-grief reaction to the loss of our cat earlier this year. We'll see. The editor in my head -- let's call him Francis -- takes great pleasure in asking from time to time the simple question of 'Who gives a shit' when it comes to some of these Unsolicited Personal Narratives. I work in the chaotic and generally short-attention-span ravaged world of the Internet, you see, and I imagine someone stumbling upon this corner of the world and spinning right out as if through a revolving door.

Still -- have you seen the news lately? Editors can't keep their jobs for shit.


At 3:59 PM, Blogger Robbie said...

Chris Barton , what was the name of your dog in high school ?


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