You came upon my life so suddenly and you were so unwelcome. It didn’t seem fair that I was trading someone I loved for you. I so desperately wanted to know if I could make an exchange; could I return you in order to have back the person I already missed so much? But when I spoke with you about it, bargained, bartered, begged on my knees, you said no. So, I had to find a way to make room for you in my life, but that was hard because you were so big, like this giant knapsack on my back that I constantly had to readjust and move from shoulder to shoulder just to try and find a comfortable way of carrying you around. And carry you I did.
Everywhere I went now was clouded by you.
It was almost like holding on to a black balloon and every time I went out into the sun, you blocked it from me so that all my life was lived in shadow. A shadow of grief. My friends and family would see this black balloon, and with sad eyes and a sympathetic smile they would ask about me, they would wonder how I was managing with you.
You were the darkness I couldn’t see past for such a long time.
You never told me how long you planned to stay, so I had to make room in my life for you knowing that you could be here as long or as little as you liked. I hated feeling out of control like that, I wanted to compartmentalise and put you in a box hidden high up on a shelf where no one but me would know where it was. But it didn’t work like that, you were my shadow, my companion; you followed me everywhere. Even in sleep, I didn’t rest because in those still moments you visited me through dreams. You wore me out.
It wasn’t all bad.
You were the one who understood my tears the most, even if it was just over a spilt coffee. You also were the one to remind me of my loved one, you helped me carry them with me.
On days where I was too sad to see anyone, you were there helping me through the day. When I was unable to process my own loss, you were there helping me figure it out, helping me find a way to be at rest with it.
Time passed, as inevitably it does, and whilst there is still this shadow of grief in my heart, it is smaller than it once was. No longer are you a knapsack on my back, nor are you a balloon who blocks out my sun.
These days you have found a comfortable way to sit in my heart, right in the spot that my loved one used to occupy.
So now, dear Grief, I greet you like a friend because I will carry you with me always, and because you are both a comfort and a reminder of everything I have loved and lost.
By Danielle Myers