Monday, May 17, 2010


Mikey is dead.

This is the second time I have written that sentence since it happened, though in the interim between writing it, I have said it (to myself, to others) what now seems innumerable times. I have been afraid to write it. Writing is so permanent. I am frequently paranoid about writing things down and destroy evidence of anything I write that may be particularly incriminating later. But with this, I cannot take it back. I cannot destroy it. Because he is gone.

And I need to write about it because writing, in part, is how I deal with the world around me. But I don't know what to write about. If I write about all the memories of Mikey, all of the love I have for him, and only tertially touch upon the fact that he is dead, it seems like a lie. If I delve too much into the pain of losing someone I loved so much, it feels unseemly- too expositional- too emotional- not enough Mikey too much me.

I cannot seem to write about him in the past tense.

Worden (2002), gives the four processes of grief:

1) Adjust to the reality of the loss. (He is gone. He will not return. After I found out he was dead, I called his phone and left him a voicemail telling him goodbye. As if I somehow expected him to receive it. )

2) Work through the pain of grief. (It feels like the ocean tide. The pain comes in and it overwhelms me and eventually, it recedes and I can move forward, knowing all the while that it will come again. I don't know how long it is supposed to take- I feel almost awkward trying to deal with time in this perspective- I'm sure some would say that time isn't the important thing here, that the pressure to grieve and move on is natural, but to stick with it through its natural cycle. I'm sure there are all sorts of rules for this- I just don't know them.)

3) Adjust to the environment without the deceased. (I find it terribly ironic that, in the lowest circumstances of my life these past three years, it has been Mikey who has stepped in and sat with me in my despair and my sorrow. And now, when I again find myself in this place, the one person who has always unfailingly been there, is the one person who cannot step in and say all those right things that he is so good at saying, or tell all those stupid jokes that he is so good at telling, or give those big, lanky, all-encompassing hugs, or sing all those beautiful songs that somehow made things a little easier. Adjustment indeed.)

4) Emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life. (How can I take him with me into the present? How can I honor him best? How do I keep such a dear friend close in my life, despite the fact that he is no longer living? This is a process I have not figured out yet. Not being religious anymore, I do not have the easy out of supposing that he and I will again reunify in another life. I was reading Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, the other day and he mentioned that it is almost a certainty that in every person's life, they will, at one point or another, consume a water molecule that has passed through Oliver Cromwell's bowels. For some reason, I found this oddly comforting.)

It is a process. It is a process I did not anticipate and, if he'd given me the choice, I wouldn't have signed up for it. But here we are. He is learning how to be dead, and I am learning how to grieve. He loved me and I loved him and that certainty makes this very difficult time worthwhile. He is worth grieving for. He is worth learning from. He is worth remembering.

"The pain of grief is just as much a part of life as the joy of love; it is, perhaps, the price we pay for love- the cost of commitment."

I am ok with paying that price.

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