44 Something I Learned About Grief Part II

 

 

Jen was sitting there on the gym floor playing with her hair as the teacher took roll.Our classes were combined for tumbling so I walked over to my friend Nicole just to get closer. Three days I did this. On the third day she kicked me. 

You ever gonna talk to me, or are you just gonna keep coming over here to look at me?

I was done looking forever. I was fourteen. 

Our story is not the point of this particular post, but our story does not have a happy ending. 

It ends with her dead in a hospital bed and me remembering it’s my dad’s birthday.

My grandma owned a duplex on Augusta at the end of a cul-de-sac, abutted against a Jewish cemetery. She lived in one unit, my dad and I lived in the other. It’s the first place I ever remember living. It’s the first place I made friends. My best friend was Beebee. A little Jewish boy that lived across the street. 

He’s buried in that cemetery behind my old home. 

Uncle Charlie was my hero. He was my counselor,  my sounding board, my biggest advocate, and damn good looking. I wanted to be just like him. 

He was also gay in the time of AIDS. 

My dad was the only constant in my entire life. The only thing that truly stayed from the moment I was born. He lived long enough for me to realize that he is the reason I am strong. 

– 

My older cousin Becky was the coolest person I knew. She in and out of trouble and her mom was as worthless as mine when we were growing up. We wasted hours of our lives sitting up all night talking about what we were gonna do with this life. 

She was nineteen and in rehab when she was murdered. 

These are just some of the people I miss all of the time. And it sucked when each of them died. Which death hurt more is one of those silly questions that only stupid people consider. Each hurt. And each of those hurts was unique because each of those people where unique.

Sometimes I will smell something and my dad is right there. Where that used to feel like a cruel joke I now welcome and relish. If I close my eyes, for just a moment, he is right here with me. 

That’s true for all of the people I have lost. 

I hear a song, a line from a movie, smell something, see little boy in a yamulke, and suddenly…

Hello old friend, it’s really good to see you once again.

The point of all of this babble is this: eventually (sometimes a very long eventually) the pain of loss is replaced by a sense of peace at having ever loved that person lost. And on occassion even joy as you aren’t completely sure they weren’t just there in some ethereal way so close, but just out of reach. 

 

 

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