There are not yet words for what we are swimming through. Things are happening we cannot say or even percieve, because no one admits they are happening. This is where the limitations of human conciousness show up: we need words in order to make things real. If we don’t talk about something, it’s as though it’s not happening. And yet it is happening.” – Christina Baldwin. Storycatcher
No one ever talks about how exhausted the process of bereavement makes you. They talk about how sad they are and the stages of grief and all of that technical stuff. They talk about baggage and processing and funerals and details. You always know how someone died and when they died and when and where they will be ‘put to rest.’ But at a time of loss, it is not the dead that need that rest.
We have had a profound loss in our family. That is why I am not here with the story I had hoped to give. I haven’t had a chance to record it, but more than that, I have simply been too tired. I have fallen asleep in three different chairs today and in the middle of three different conversations. It’s as if the body simply can only take so much emotion and can only go so deep for so long before it decides it has had enough and shuts down.
We have talked for several days now, in that strange gap in your life that death opens. We have used words to remember, to understand, to question, to wonder and to share memories. It’s as if we must get it all out there; get it all said in order to cement it into our minds and our experience. I have heard some stories three or four times already. These tales have already begun to take on the status of family legend. The mythology is being created around me as I sit as witness. It is sacred and strange all at once.
But the fatigue remains, and although proper sleep alludes us, we have begun to sit together more quietly and to turn to distractions to fill the silence of our tired selves. Our minds turn from telling the stories to storing them. New files are created from this unusually massive download in our cells, and we struggle to string a full sentence together.
It is a ritual and a ceremony that is so personal and yet so universal. Birth and death are the things we all truly have in common.
But it is the stories we tell about those things and the time in between them that creates our experience.
Sending love to you and your loved ones tonight. Hold them tight. Tell your stories now while everyone is there to hear them.