Not a good grief. Just a Grief. As in Bridge of Spies Donovan (Tom Hanks) says to Abel (Mark Rylance): “You don’t seem alarmed.” To which Abel replies: “Would it help?” Abel states this approach a few more times and each time I sort of gasp in my chest. He’s right. Right? Worry can become a lead booted try-to-run in a dream situation.
Would it help?
So the dog died almost three weeks ago. For about a year and a half of her eleven she was on borrowed time with congestive heart failure. She was happy though—running, playing, just a slow decline of muscle mass, energy, appetite—she’d rock with each heartbeat as she slept but didn’t seem to mind. She was on a handful of meds two times a day and extra diuretics two more times a day. She continued to run everyday in the woods and hunt squirrels and made her way through her various routines, just more and more slowly. Without details it was obvious when she hit a steady decline over about ten days then there was a day of which she didn’t need and I’m pretty sure didn’t want another.
But now I’m feeling the vigilance of watching her so closely that was cast with worry since there was only one direction this was headed slowly being taken over by what that feels cleaner somehow—a subtle but clear lifting of the attention that had a layer of worry embedded waiting for the worst while enjoying the best.
Ten years ago today my brother passed. He and I had talked about how we are all on the same path only with his we could name the how and pretty much the when. As we walked in the tunnels under Mayo in Rochester in 2005 we were hyper aware of what was coming, silently wondering how we could walk at all as he and I found an ice cream counter and ordered vanilla.
Would it help?
The ice cream, the tunnel, the diligently monitored daily squirrel hunting is available to become the bits and pieces of attention, clear and clean and make up the when of today with the how of time. Grief becomes something else, naked and laughing in the same breath as the missing and remembering.
Cora, Vinalhaven, Maine, 2011, Sparrow Farm Trampoline