Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Good grief: How do you deal with death?

The dust bunnies that have taken up residence in the corners of my apartment better hide because I am sweeping. Hunched intently over the broom scouring the floor for bits I've missed, I sweep the apartment again, and again. I'm wiping down counters, doing dishes, and reorganizing the little boxes that sit on my bedside table and store my favourite pieces of jewelry. I'm thinking about coating the tub in Vim and taking a toothbrush to the tiles. 

My apartment isn't dirty, so it doesn't really need this overhaul of vinegar and vacuum cleaners. I'm cleaning with such vigour because I'm sad. Yesterday someone I knew, someone I had interviewed and wrote about and talked to about life, died. 

The rational part of mind says that death is a part of life and there's no avoiding it, so I should just accept this passing. But the emotional part of my mind is in turmoil and is screaming that this isn't fair. She was too young - she should have lived longer - how did this happen and why? No fair, no fair, no fair - skipping like a scratched record my brain says "no fair." 

How do you deal with death and the grief that accompanies it? How do you handle something that happens whether you want it to or not? How do you prepare? 

I, rag in hand, knees on the floor, nose running from dust, clean. I clean because it's something I can control when life suddenly seems out of control. I scrub until the cries of "no fair" subside and I wash as if I can wipe the sadness away.

Good grief - a phrase often muttered by the ever relatable Charlie Brown comes to mind. Can there be such a thing as "good" grief? Maybe there can if we take each passing as a chance to remember what we've lost, reflect on what we still have, and take a moment to clean. 

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