TDFW: The Grief Issue

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

I had to take a small break from TDFW because the next person I was going to interview was my friend Erica Frazier Stum and when she passed away in December I just couldn’t bring myself to ask someone else. The grief I’ve experienced over the past month and a half has made me realize that every time I’ve lost someone in my life it feels a little worse than the previous time. I can’t tell if it’s because as we get older we get a little more in touch with our own mortality. If it’s because we’ve just had more time to know that person, build those connections, nurture those relationships and then when they’re gone it feels like all this lost time infinitely extending forward. The thought that everything ahead of you won’t ever be something you can share with them feels overwhelming.

I’ve been having a hard time processing grief as of late, because not long after I returned from Erica’s memorial (not so much a memorial as a celebration of her beautiful life) my family had to put our old faithful dog to sleep. He was seventeen and had lived a long happy healthy life, but oh my God it still hurt like hell. Most days I have to make a conscious decision over whether I am going to wade all the way into my grief or just scratch the surface. Every day is different and every day has been extremely hard. I think the hardest part about grieving is that it just weighs on you like some invisible pressure that only lets up when you manage to sleep and then rushes back as soon as you reopen your eyes. There’s nowhere to go to escape it and for me it hovers in the periphery even while something positive is happening, tamping down the full extent of joy I might have otherwise felt.

I know that time doesn’t fix any of it. I threw that lie out a long time ago. Time never heals you, it just makes things tolerable. You never stop missing someone, you figure out how to live without them mainly because they’d want you to be happy, but there is no point where it ever feels acceptable to be without them. And if I could ever offer anyone advice because so many people become so inept at communication and empathy when someone has died, you can simply say “I’m so sorry, I know you loved them.” That’s all.

So this is my long winded way of saying that I will get back to doing this newsletter soon, I just needed some time. There’s this imaginary sliding scale for how bad of a day it’s going to be grief wise. I wake up not sure what it’s going to be but I’m doing the best I can. It’s all any of us can do. xo

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

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