Wow, just… wow.
The third wave came. Grief comes in waves, big and small. I’ve occasionally experienced them in the last few months. Before Easter, my last one occurred three weeks earlier. I found that things became a lot more manageable after that. I thought it was the last one. When it happened again, it was hell. It felt as if my entire body was burning on the fire. Sadly, rolling on the floor wouldn’t even help me to survive the smoke faster. It took me a while to even open the doorknob. When I did, I was weaker than dust. All right, I’ll stop writing metaphors.
Here’s what happened recently.
When Theo’s mother told him that she had held onto their old quilts, I knew that I was emotionally doomed. I couldn’t contain myself anymore after the moment I laid my eyes on their soft-fleeced quilts. I was overwhelmed with grief when I listened to their private conversation. It was an echo to the earlier conversation I had with my mom when we unpacked my childhood toys for donation. It was a big send-off to that era.
I had to run. From everything. For a little bit, anyway.
My purple canvas shoes took me through their sleeping neighbourhood. It was after midnight. Every single thing, including the owl statue, had a ghouly appearance. When I saw the street sign on the road, I had goosebumps on my arms. It spelled ‘Safe’. Was someone trying to tell me to be careful? It was purely a coincidence, I’d tell myself. I would end up in a school’s backyard, which was partially filled with pine trees. My heart skipped as I got sucked into that otherworldly night. For one second, I’d believe that dead souls were walking through gaps between the trees. Nevertheless, I would reassure myself that my mind was playing with me. It was pure bullshit. Here I was, sitting on the swing, alive and alone. As I pushed myself back and forth, I noticed something even more creepier. It was indeed true. The only most bright light I’ve seen was the moon. It wasn’t only about third-fourth full, but it was also pink. With that sight, I couldn’t shake that fear of mine. I would start imagining being in the local newspaper for being kidnapped. I didn’t want to get chopped like meat and thrown into some lake. No, I couldn’t let this happen.
This experience contrasted to the one I had when I turned eight. I would fondly remember that summer as a wonderful coming-of-age adventure. My first canvas shoes came in a deep violet purple. I also loved that they came with zippers. I would wear these shoes everywhere. They were there when my father planned our first family trip to Buffalo. They were there when I was laying on the sidewalk, drawing my imagination away. They had taken a liking to sticky carpeting floors that you’d see in theatres. Most importantly, it was the time when I peaked. Picnicking in Webster Falls, more than anything, had a significance on my growth. As my sister and I basked in the sun, she would give me few pointers on how to swing myself. Everything just clicked in that moment. Before I could say anything, I was already doing it! The first image from that experience that came to my mind was my canvas shoes. I would then remember how the sunlight would filter through green leaves. I also have my sister’s blurry face pressed into my mind. I’ve had my first taste of freedom.
As I landed my feet on the ground, I vowed to find that strength back. While I didn’t feel winning the lottery in 2017, my pain itself was temporary. It still is. Like the ocean, grief comes in waves. It can be unpredictable. Learning how to choose waves to ride is an invaluable ability for us to possess in our lives. In that moment, I’ve decided to ‘swim’
all way back to the house. No, it didn’t get better like that.
However, I knew I wouldn’t be alone. That was plenty enough.