Grief is a game played hard, and to win. And always front of a crowd, never alone. You can’t practice it. But you’ll know the match has begun when you realize your number is somehow miraculously already pinned on. How do I know? I just do. Try as I might, I suck at the game. There’s this inner voice I expected to hear so that my time on the field would be superb. The stuff of legends. I mean, who doesn’t grieve? Who can’t do grief well? That’s me. I just benched myself.
Death and loss and grief are so commingled in our culture that I almost feel bad for not understanding it. Two of the more powerful, important, and loved creatures in my life went away less than seven weeks ago. I expected to feel, well – to at least feel differently. To be a Varsity Team level griever. But alas.
I’ve looked at it through many lenses and come away believing grief is for the audience. For the ticket holders watching the game. So that they think they’re getting their money’s worth while you wriggle and cry and face massive losses for words about those who’ve gone to that room upstairs. Note the Chauncey Gardiner reference. Is grief a game faked like the WWF? Is the outcome predictable no matter what happens before the buzzer sounds? Dunno.
I miss Bobbe and Rich beyond words. And yeah I’ve cried quite a bit. And also carry that incredulity streak that they’re no longer on God’s green earth for all of us to touch, to engage, to share laughs with, and to love – and to be loved in return. After all the searching and pondering in the intervening weeks, I’m left believing that I gave as good as I got, and did it all in real time. While they were here. With me. When it mattered.
If grief is about showing others you’re sad, then perhaps I missed the playbook. More than anything, I’m happy. I had a chance to connect with two souls who meant something to me. Who shaped my life. For whom I never waited a moment too long to let know how much their lives enriched mine, and how much I loved them. After all of this, the letting go part was, well – it was quite easy.