The Sensuality of Grief

I can't stop thinking about something that Monica McClure said in an interview with Paperbag. After the loss of a lover and two friends, McClure felt compelled to "make grief into art" despite her concerns about the "aesthetic failings of this kind of poetry." She goes on to say:

There was a lot of longing for the memory of the physical feeling of the deceased’s body that I hoped would show through because that’s one of the most interesting things about grieving to me—the sensuality of it.

The loss of a father is quite different from that of a boyfriend or close friend, but the longing for the body of the deceased is just as intense. I think about my father's hair, his skin, the sound of his voice, his hands, his scent. I yearn for his corporeality. I grieve with all five senses. My own body is still trying to cope with the absence of his body. He no longer occupies my physical space and that is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, parts of his death. This person that I saw and spoke to every day for sixteen years vanished.

It is no wonder that my grief has been so physical--racing heart, shortness of breathing, chest pains, fatigue. The damage has been irrevocable and devastating. The body always remembers, whether you want it to or not. Any sound, any scent, can activate an onslaught of memories that demolish you.

I used to imagine one day being cut open by a surgeon and he or she finding my grief carved all over the inside of my body. I felt the scars must be there on the tissue and the organs, and maybe they are. I feel the rot and decay within myself. I feel like Frida Kahlo with her broken column. I feel that, if I could see inside myself, I'd find such brokenness too, and I fear it is too late to repair.