Grief rocks, slumped in a corner, spent drink in her left hand, dirt smeared across her forehead. She hums and she cries; her hands flit against things I don’t see.
As I come near, she looks up, startled but clear eyed:
“What do you want?” she asks, adjusting the straps of her dress.
She pats herself down gently. “What is it you want most? Maybe I have it. Maybe I have it somewhere….”
Today’s prompt is about personifying grief. This threw me back to 1999… I had to write a personification poem for a project in my English class. I was a freshman in high school, but taking sophomore English so I was the youngest person in the class and felt like I had something to prove. My grandfather passed away that spring, and it was the first time I had experienced death directly. So ironically, my poem was about grief, personified.
I saw Grief clearly.
She was frail and cloaked in black.
She turned and gave a silent wail.
I saw her chapped skin and hollow eyes.
I heard her choke back the sobs.
And I felt the horror.
How would I write about grief now, 17 years later? How do I give a voice to something that has been such an interwoven part of my life for the past 6 months?
I looked in the mirror, and I saw Grief staring back at me. She had the same disheveled hair, circles under the eyes, and thirsty skin. In September, she had the look of a woman who was pregnant but carried no baby. Today she has the thin, frail frame of someone who does not have the will to eat.
Grief mocks me. She mocks every thought I ever had about pregnancy. When I used to think that “getting pregnant” was the hurdle to overcome, and once the baby was conceived, that it was simply a 9-month wait. She mocks every time I pitied someone who had fertility or pregnancy issues, and how I thought “that’s not me.” It is me. Grief feels my shame.
Grief throttles me. She shakes me out of my sleep at night. She slaps me across the face while I am walking through the store. She pulls tears from my eyes when I am alone. She claws at my heart until I cannot catch my breath.
Grief follows me as I move through my home. She never lets me forget. Grief is my baby, an infant that must be tended and cannot be left alone. Neglecting Grief would cause her to scream. It is better to feed and comfort Grief and hope that she can mature and one day walk away on her own terms.