I’m a fan of day dreams. As a teenager I was often told there would come a time when I would need to stop day dreaming. That day hasn’t come yet.
I used to – still do – dream of rollicking good adventures, and those day dreams sometimes end up being reality.
Grief is one of those adventures.
It’s not, however, a rollicking good adventure.
If grief were a movie it would be less Pirates of the Caribbean and more Good Will Hunting. Worthwhile, but deep and profoundly moving rather than frivolous and fun.
When someone dies there is often reflection about the Meaning of Life, which usually ends in YouCan’tTakeItWithYouWhenYouDieSoDon’tWorkSoHardWhileYou’reAlive.
I wasn’t ready for my father’s death earlier this year – or that of our baby in 2005 – but once it happened I thought I was ready for the aftermath. I wanted the revelation of a changed perspective. I figured turning forty in the same year my dad died positioned me perfectly to contemplate and re-examine life. We returned home after the funeral and I mentally geared myself for a time of navel-gazing. I dreamed of arriving at the other side of grief with the grace of Audrey Hepburn and the wisdom of Yoda.
Of course it hasn’t happened like that.
I spent most of my teens and all of my twenties swimming in a big pot of self-indulgent post-modern angst; it’s possible I’ve already used up my quota. Instead of contemplation, it seems I’ve embraced pragmatism. Life, unsurprisingly, does in fact go on. It’s weirdly the same but different.
Sometimes grief reminds me we’re still on the adventure together with bittersweet gentle memories. Sometimes it knocks me on my butt, leaving me breathless and stunned.
Either way, it’s not the journey I thought it would be.
One day I may attain the wisdom of Yoda. The grace of Hepburn is unlikely.
But a girl can dream.