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where to put it, and what it means
I haven’t publicly spoken about my breakup, and I did that partially because it felt like a big secret I had to keep a lid on top of. I was afraid that the person I was dating didn’t tell their friends and so I have stayed pretty quiet and still about it. Though the primary reason is because I have blamed myself for the dissolution of this relationship that meant so much to me. I have learned a lot since it ended but I also have become more open to the idea of discussing it. More specifically, now that I am seeing and sitting with new phases of this grief, I wonder about discussing that instead as a means to relate to and honor the universal grief that we all feel.
Also before I get any deeper into this grief stuff I am going to prime you with this precious photo of my foster kitten Lux, playing in my laundry. Also please check out this website I just built for myself to house my new and upcoming projects.
This view of grief I am about to discuss comes direct from Andrew Garfield, and the irony there is not lost on me — I think it’s slightly cheesy to be talking about Spiderman in my newsletter but there’s nothing cheesy about a man who literally isn’t a comic book character losing his mother and discussing his grief on live television. That was both beautiful and heartbreaking to see, and even though it is dated, I was touched when I saw it, and it struck me again this morning, when a friend sent me a post about grief which referred back to this very episode. (If you’d like to watch the clip, it starts at 0:38.)
I’d spoken to this friend who also recently went through a breakup, and mentioned to her the changing phases of my grief and how I’m experiencing them as one experiences the phases of the moon. Not all at once, but instead in slivers, and new ones all the time, and unexpectedly.
I talked about how it feels like I’ve woken up in the morning to walk out to the build site for a new home, and been aghast to find, as I approach the land where the foundation had lain just days before, an empty gash in the Earth. A place where a ripping had occurred. I am no less of a person but I am devastated. All that is to say that today when I received this post, the message hit me more directly.
Garfield says, regarding his mother who passes after a long battle with cancer, I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her.
And yes, in that simple statement, he makes such a profound point. I agree with the conclusion that grief is all the un - stuff. Unheard, unspoken, unasked. The things we can’t say because this person we’ve lost is no longer around to listen to us. Or to answer the questions we’d ask.
At first I wanted to say that of course my partner isn’t dead, but then I found myself readily making excuses for myself and the very real pain I feel — I don’t need to go: Allayna stop, your problems aren’t as bad as some …because ultimately that means nothing. My pain doesn’t need to compete with others’ pain. I grieve. We all do. We all feel the loss of someone. Many someones at the same time, even. And that ought to be honored.
So here I am to honor it and share this with you.
Grief is the love that we don’t have the opportunity to share and that will look different to everyone.
We shout to the sky,
I talk to my grandma while I drive her car to work,
we say our prayers at night or
we write songs that are messages to a person we can’t call on the phone anymore.
Your grief will look different than mine, and it’s still real to you. And it hurts, I know it does.
Love continues on and on and on, and it doesn’t stop when the person we love goes missing. For a long time I was afraid that the person I loved would suddenly stop loving me. Now I see that real love doesn’t just… stop. Instead, the love continues to swim around in circles in our bodies, and if we embrace the grief, viewing it as just that, all this love that we don’t know what to do with, it feels less like a burden, I think. It honors our expansiveness. It shows us we are not closed down. We are not cold. This embrace says, yes you can continue to love and love and love even when they are gone. You don’t have to stop if you don’t want to
it will fade with time but don’t rush yourself
you’re not bad for wishing you could spray fire from your fingers if it would let all that love out
It doesn’t make the pain hurt less, I wouldn’t say, but I think that it offers me peace. Maybe it’ll offer you peace too.
It’s okay if the love keeps coming day after day. I feel it too.
If this resonated and you’d like to share, please feel welcome to email me.