Sunday, August 16, 2009

please make a note of it

People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others.

The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness. It is the look of someone who walks from the ophthalmologist's office into the bright daylight with dilated eyes, or of someone who wears glasses and is suddenly made to take them off.

These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible.

From Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

I haven't blogged much (at all, not since it happened) about the only thing I'm thinking about, because this blog has been so often crowded with death and dying and grieving and loss and haven't we all had enough already?

But it occupies my every thought, when I'm not chasing it to some dark corner with work or travel or chores (my house? so tidy you wouldn't believe.).

A friend said today "you should tell people that: that she was more than most grandmothers; that she was more to you," and she was. My mother left me and my stepmother didn't like me much. There was no one to mother me.

Except Grama.

She said "tell them" like it would make it hurt less; or maybe make people care more.

But people caring more will not make me feel any less alone.

"That's a lonely feeling," another friend said, when he sent condolences, and they were the truest words I've received.

Which is a long way of saying that reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking this weekend is the first time I haven't felt so crazy or so terribly alone since the ceiling caved in.

Highly recommended if you are grieving, or have grieved, or will grieve.

Which pretty much makes it mandatory reading for everyone on the planet.


Enyasi said...

I have been thinking about this book, it is being staged as a play in Seattle. (

I remember when my mother died, I screamed, cried and then locked myself in the bathroom... feeling as if I was the only person left on earth. I only opened the door when my partner called the one person I was capable of listening to at that moment. I don't recall every word you said, but I remember feeling less alone and that the love and friendship my mother and I shared would continue on in some form or another...

I wish there were magic words to fill the holes...and I wish I could remember verbatim what you so eloquently said to me. Just remember that anything you choose to do during this time is the right thing, and that only requirements are that you be kind to yourself and remember your family and friends love you so very much!

suttonhoo said...

(oh friend i love you so much)

I remember that conversation when your heart was breaking knowing you'd never talk to your mother again and I said why not write to her and tell her everything, every day? journal it. tell her everything that's in your heart. everything you want her to hear.

I need to to do that too. I need to write to her. I need to tell her everything. and it didn't even occur to me I could until right now.

thank you.

anniemcq said...

oh how i love you.

Bonita said...

I read Joan Didion's book soon after my Dad died. He was the person who normalized everything for me in the world...and now he is gone. All I cared about then was figuring out how I would or could go on without I did the two things that have always helped: read and wrote...and read and wrote some more.

There will always be days that I walk around hoping to be able to talk to him again. I often ask myself "What would Dad do?" as a way to steady my emotional equilibrium.

This missing of him is like no other feeling I have every experienced. It is so vast is it without boundaries.

A friend once told us that the missing of someone never subsides..over time is just happens less frequently. Maybe so...I am not convinced of this...a profound relationship demands profound grieving.

Grieve long and hard...go to the depths....that is where all the knowing and healing hides.

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