It’s a Monday now, but 3 years ago it was a Thursday. And I can’t quite work out the maths of it all, perhaps somewhere along the way, I missed a day: between yesterday and today. Or so it seems.
Three years ago today I birthed a grief so sweet I would never leave its side. Three years ago today we knew you were a boy and we gave you a name: A poet, a moony friend and the combination of histories bound by a marriage.
But I fill the void of sadness with an unrealistic and un-provable ghost toddler who tears through the house terrorizing the cat. Desperate to get his grubby hands on the high up things and the olives which make his face scrunch with their saltiness. Who grabs at my leg shyly while I chat to friends in the street, catching up on old times. I couldn’t give a fuck if it’s not technically helpful, this living in a dream-world that honestly started way before Dylan, but somewhere in my own weird childhood.
It’s days like today that I want to punch the person who started the trend of ‘happy birthday’. I would punch him, no matter the size or ferocity and I’d win because the man is most likely a prick. Not every birthday is happy. It’s not just the dead that know that but the living too. I wish I could come up with a better phrase for it. One to suit all the seasonal-sulkers, grannies fearing the gray in their hair and the grave that awaits, the babies born still but that STILL were born.
A friend asked me how I’m feeling nowadays about the whole thing. But I can’t speak of my progress knowing he has a lack of such. I can’t speak of wellness and smiles and age when I know he was robbed of these. And anyone who knows grief knows both the bitter and the sweet of it. Knows that there is a strength of love gained that binds you to all others, a tenderness that cannot be matched, knows that there are guilty happy days amongst the humiliating shit-storm and convulsion of tears.
And it’s not just me who grieves, everywhere I look there are little hidden unsaid things that prickle at our eyes and squeeze our throats. There are little rivers to the golden ground songs and fragmented isolated transient moments and difficult days, a saying that comes back to mind unexpectedly, an old aunt who has the filthiest jokes, another who never married, an old gangster sitting on a park bench bunning a zoot, a shaky hand and a fragmented mind, a person lost inside their own brains but still breathing, flowers from a supermarket one for me and one for you, an apple pie (because it’s what he would have chosen), roses in the garden and a kit-kat tea-break because his fingers were green, plastic Barbie dolls heads hanging from a plant pot because she was insane in all the ways we loved, photo frames taken on holiday so he will always be with you. There are animals abandoned, tortured or killed for burgers. There are spikes to poke the homeless and stop them sleeping. There are missing members everywhere, whether they are dead or alive: people who abandoned us either decidedly or not. There is loneliness and random unexplained secret pain, there is illness and irritability and just plain moaning for the sake of it. There are events and cardigans and boxes kept special and safe for us all. It’s not just me. And holy FUCK: other people’s sadness overwhelms me, almost as much as my own.
Three years ago it was a Monday. And so many things besides that have changed. The world constantly reorganizes itself around all the quiet graves. What I learn is that florists are the fuckers who uproot beauty and sell its carcass at too high a cost, who fashion the fragility of nature and who stand to gain from the profitability of funerals.