Grief Language

Grief is my obsession; it consumes me. When my father died, I was destined to always know grief.  For a short period of time after his death I could not read or write. The things that had once comforted me in life were useless, but I found my way back to them. I've come to the realization that my life's mission is to write his death--write the grief, write the aching, write the horror, write the trauma. I can't have him so I write. I can't live so I write. I can't stop fearing death so I write.

I am always writing my grief even when what I am writing is not explicitly about grief. What interests me is the way grief has altered my mind and my language. The way I write--the fragments, the unfinished thoughts, the sentence structure--is constructed by grief. The rawness, the honesty, the personal details, the exposure, the confession, the flaws--it is all shaped by his death and what the loss of him did to me, how it destroyed me and forced me to remake myself with less material than I had before. Sometimes, ideas don't cohere; I read the same passages multiple times in a book and fail to understand them or I want to write and have no conception of how my thoughts should be organized or connected. Sometimes, the words themselves make no sense, and I feel like I've never read a book in my life or written one word before. Those are the worst times.

My central desire is to craft my own grief language. I will do this by reading how other people write about grief, how they grapple with unspeakable loss through the written word. Over the course of 2013, I will share what I discover here on this blog. I will review books about grief because I need to go as deep as I can into this wound that I carry with me; I need to know how other people survived it and what they did with it.

 At my father's funeral, I gave no eulogy; I said nothing, the words abandoned me. For the rest of my life I will try to rectify that mistake and either find the words I could not find then--a language of grief and mourning unavailable to me at the time--or I will accept that only silence can hold his death and that silence itself is a language that must be listened to and lived with.