This Devastation I Have Known
Thinking about grief, perhaps obsessively. Thinking about my writing project next year, the one that terrifies me, that seems too ambitious or just irrelevant. Who wants to read about me reading grief memoirs? But I need to read these books about grief. I have a long list of them. There's poetry and theory and fiction and non-fiction. There are people mourning mothers, spouses, and children and here I am, ready to descend into all that pain. I even found a scholarly journal called "Death Studies" and spent hours last night downloading all the articles. Grief is my singular obsession. And yet I still don't feel capable of writing about it and maybe reading these books is a way for me to both write about it and not write about it, confront it but still keep my distance. What am I looking for in these texts? My grief is six years old now, almost seven. Time has not erased it but it has changed it. I'm still adapting to life without a father. I am navigating a world where fathers still exist but there is not one to call my own. This grief is the only thing I know. I want to read books about it. I want to find people who feel it too, who understand, in some way, this devastation I have known.