The Bricks and Mortar of Grief

Sep 01, 2019

It has been a week of intimately getting to know the bricks and mortar of grief.

My daughter has been with her Grandparents for a much-deserved break from “Grief Central” and Mama has been rolling up her sleeves and getting down to business.

This home feels like a museum showcasing a life that is no longer mine. I remember it viscerally, that other life. If I close my eyes, I am back there now. It is not time that separates me but rather something else.

The thing about death is that there is actual practical work involved, once a body has been emptied of a soul. There are taxes to do and clothing to sort. There are letters and notebooks and with this particular body there are drums and cymbals and shakers, there are so many shakers.

Our taxes tell a story. I sit on the floor of our bedroom crying over receipts for groceries up at the cottage or beers at a friend’s show. I hold each of his shirts in my arms and bury my face in them one last time. I felt his heart beat through this shirt. I pulled this shirt off of him as we laughed together and kissed. I watched his face grimace with pain as we struggled to get this shirt over his shoulders when the cancer was in his spine.

They smell like him. They smell like us. Like our togetherness. I will remember this smell for eternity. I have known this smell since forever.

I listen to Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and dance in my underwear, just as we did the first time I brought him up to my cottage. I close my eyes and I’m back there, freshly in love, rediscovering my soul mate, in bliss. I open them and Bri’s clothes are scattered all over our bedroom floor and I am alone.

I weave in and out of two worlds, the physical and the elsewhere, that place where I find Bri now. Here and there. Together and apart. But I must always come back here. My body stubbornly continues to function, despite often running low on food and sleep and being starved for physical connection.

These things that I touch are evidence of a life I loved. Shared laughter, secret words, rituals, food, a scent. I will honour that life for as long as I live. I will honour that life, as I build up another.

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