It is impossible to wrap my head around the sensation of grief, of feeling like the world is secure and safe in one moment, and the next, it feels out of place, foreign, alien. It brings up such strange anxieties and thoughts, unwelcomed superstitions around people, places, things.
For instance, it dawned on me last Thursday that it was nearly 3 months since Kudra’s passing, that I would be off on Friday, like I was off the Friday of her death, and that I was to attend the same training on Monday that I had to postpone the week after her passing. When Friday arrived, I could feel the edge in my bones, my blood rushing and whispering, ‘please, no one die’. And it feels odd and silly to hold such notions about such simple acts of living, but death has a way of complicating and stripping away whatever ease you cling to in the world.
That afternoon, I picked up Cece after school and we went to the library. She helped me take Kudra’s books and place them in the book return. I cried like a baby, and it felt excruciating, even though I have zero attachment to the texts themselves, merely the memories of taking her when she first finished detox, helping her look up the books, and picking them up with her as they came in. It’s the longing to have such a banal moment again as a trip to the library on a weekend afternoon. In place of what couldn't be, I took Cece to get boba to thank her for her support and love.
On Sunday, I went to a reiki session, my first ever. I went because I attended a conference and there was a postcard for the free session in my gift bag. I told myself, ‘why not’?
I didn’t tell the practitioner about my daughter.
As soon as I was laying down, and her hands were cupped close to my face, filing my nostrils with essential oil, the tears started. The entire session I saw Kudra in various ages and time periods. I hugged my daughter. Felt her arms around me, the way she would both hold you delicately and tightly at the same time. And even though it was only in my mind or in spirit, it was remarkable. This woman had hands that emanated heat like she was a soft, burning ember. I felt so many things in that hour, but the most persistent was Kudra insisting almost yelling at me that I must take care of the living.
When we finished, she told me that she could feel an overwhelming sense of spiritual support for me, ‘more than I have ever felt before’. She also told me she could feel a ‘maternal’ energy coming from my left foot. I left, got in the car with Cece, and I cried for several minutes, recounting to her what I had just experienced. Then she began to cry, and we sat in the quiet and cold, holding hands and weeping.
Later that day we made dream boards for the year, both of us including Kudra. The hardest part about grief is that to heal, you must let the visceral thoughts and feelings begin to fade. What tenuous connection you have to the sensation of their existence has to slowly, inevitably be severed, in order that you may live and cater to those still here. It is the slow slippage of the sharpness of her being into soft memory that feels like torture. Being happy is hard, and not because you don’t want joy. It feels less poignant without that person in the world to share it with, less vibrant and meaningful.
I don’t want to let go of my baby girl. I don’t want her to be dead and gone. I want to die first.
Tonight, Cece and I were watching a show about a mother and daughters that reminds me so much of our family, and there was a birthday for the mom. I realized I will never hear my daughter wish me a happy birthday again, and the finality, the weight of that knowing sat itself right into the middle of my heart and the tears wasted no time in coming.
Everything I am learning about this process comes down to time. I know I am doing better than I was three months ago or even the holidays, but I still don’t feel ‘ok’. I’m not crying uncontrollably every day, multiple times a day, but the hurt still comes with a force and brutality that is unwavering and uncontrollable. And certain days, like Christmas Eve this year, were especially unkind and unrelenting in their memories and heartache.
It's so hard to be so powerless to emotions you can’t see or predict until a trigger comes along: a photo, a remembrance, a token, whatever embodies that person’s spirit that you are longing to connect with. Then, in that moment when you feel what their existence was, you simultaneously feel what life is going to be without it.
And the only way to heal is to keep on feeling that absence, until itself is just a memory.