Sunday, January 26, 2014

On Grief and Pioneers

My friend Hannah wrote a piece on grief
I've written before that this month, this season, has been very introspective for me. A lot of looking inward, using my hands to sort through the mess inside of my chest like scooping the seeds and stringy guts out of a pumpkin when I was little.
There have been many cups of tea, many words whispered late into the night and written down in the margins of my biology notes, in notebooks and typed into my computer, much yearning coming from this heart of mine.
I become fierce, howling at the moon.
Even with years of practice, I'm still not that great at doing grief.
Even with all these years behind me, I still feel like a pioneer, turning up the soil with my fingers, marching through uncharted territory, each step timid and shaky.
It is in these days I've been listening to the same song on repeat, often crying through the whole thing, drinking coffee black and tea because someone told me that tea makes you happy. I've been sleeping a lot, because someone else told me that sleep makes everything better, and I'm learning he was right about that, even if he was wrong about a lot of other things.
I'm taking on the role of a pioneer.
Pioneer: one of the first to settle in a territory, a plant or animal capable of establishing itself in a barren or open area
I've been moving slowly, writing much, discovering that sometimes there isn't an answer for everything. I've been taking shaky steps towards the future, towards this uncharted territory, when all I want to do is run the other direction, fast.
I've been here before.
Here being in this state of grief, this state of not knowing, this state of fear, this state of not feeling like you belong anywhere.
It feels like stretching, pulling, tugging, shifting, like the world is turning too fast and all I want it to do is stop.
I don't know what's coming next, and I'm not going to pretend I do. I don't know when this season of grief will end, when the sun will rise after a long night.
But I know I'm not the only one who's been here. I'm following the trails of those who have gone before me, those who have bravely walked full speed face first into the dark. Maybe my journey won't be the same as theirs (there are often moments when it feels like I'm the only one to ever experience this, and in some respects I am) but it helps knowing that there are other people out there.
Other people who have been scared to death. Other people who have sat with their grief and didn't die from it. Other people who saw the choice to kindly leave or walk into the dark.
I follow the pioneers who so bravely went before me, making their own trails through the darkness. I find courage in their ashes, bravery in their stories, hope in their truths.
And I make my own path, begin my own journey as a pioneer, walking full speed face first into my own dark, into this uncharted territory where I'll eventually make a home.
This is where it begins. You make a home in the dark, make friends with the grief, embrace it only to find it isn't so scary after all. You become a pioneer, and maybe after a while it doesn't hurt so bad and you can finally see that sun.

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