“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The thing they don’t tell you about grief is that it’s like poison coursing through your veins or a wound that never quite heals. One moment you’re moving forward, dogged determination propelling each step; the next, grief strikes back with a vengeance, often triggered by nothing in particular. Grief is the sudden, sharp ache in your chest; the inexplicable weight on your soul, pulling you down to the depths of despair even on the brightest of days; it’s the way you grit your teeth suddenly, struggling to comprehend and control the conflicting feelings inside of you; it’s the tears you’re suddenly blinking back in the midst of a raucous crowd, with nobody the wiser – and you used to cry once a year, right? Grief is that unexpected ambush when a certain song plays on the radio, the threat of having to pull over as your eyes fill with tears, preventing you from seeing the road ahead of you. Grief is avoiding certain songs – or even a particular artist – altogether, knowing that the lyrics will evoke treacherous tears.
Grief is the worst kind of bogeyman, lurking in the darkest corners of your heart and rearing its ugly head when you least expect it.