Yeah, I know, I just wrote about a grief a little while ago. But the fucker keeps coming up.
This is possibly the problem with seeing someone (and yeah, I'm kind of seeing the boy again... but that's another entry) who is currently going through the whole fun grieving process.
It's also the problem with watching television anywhere near father's day. It's like a whole series of commercials saying "Hey, guess what? YOU WILL NEVER SEE YOUR FATHER AGAIN".
I mean seriously, what's the chance an Atheist Jew and his not actually Jewish (it's passed through the mother, you know) Unitarian, Tibetan Buddhism liking daughter are going to end up in the same place after this life? I'm leaning towards "not very high".
It's also the problem with just generally watching movies and television. It seems like everyone has a dead parent or some child's parent dies right off the bat and, even if the show or movie isn't very good, I immediately start to feel a little something in the corner of my eye (to quote Wil Wheaton). Or I get angry. Sometimes I get angry at the characters because they continue blithely on with their lives in a completely unbelievable manner. Sometimes I get angry with friends who think the character doing something outrageous is totally unlikely. It turns out, I will defend the most unlikable character, doing the most heinous of acts if their parent just died. Because grief is like love- it makes you do the wacky, and if you haven't been there, you really just don't know.
And yes, I did just quote both Wil Wheaton and Buffy. Have I mentioned that I'm awesome?
Ultimately, the thing I have the hardest time remembering, is the trite but true "we all grieve differently". Recently, watching Beverly Hills: 90210 (yeah, Lara and I are that cool, we've made it to the beginning of season eight) Lara and I were fairly amused when Clare and Steve got into an argument because he thought a drive up the coast might be a nice way to take her mind off Mother's Day. I believe Clare says something along the lines of "I'm talking about real, serious grief here and all you can suggest is a drive up the coast?" in her masterfully acted, disdainful manner. Now, this is probably, in and of itself, not at all amusing to you, but to us, it was kind of hilarious. Why? Because the only way I know how to deal with any heavy emotion, especially relating to my father, is to drive up the coast. So Clare's all freaking out, and we're supposed to be thinking Steve is ridiculous and instead I'm thinking "Man, I wish Steve Sanders was my boyfriend" (except I don't, 'cause mostly he's kind of a douche, and the boy totally took me to the beach and stared at the ocean with me on my father's birthday without thinking I was being crazy at all. I probably don't need to replace him with a fictional character. Unless, of course, Mr. Darcy becomes available). But part of that is because I spent a lot of time just driving on 1 with my father. So for me, it's a way to remember him and also a way to just totally become focused on the road, or the ocean and not think about anything else for a while. It's comforting. But to Clare Arnold (or a real person, for that matter) it might not be. It might sound like the stupidest way of dealing with things ever.
I won't tell you what the boy did when he found out his father was dieing, but trust me, it was stupid, it terrified me a little when he told me and, yet, I totally understood the impulse. And that terrified me a little more.
For me, it's also something I really don't want to discuss in a very personal manner with anyone but my closest of friends and family members (and the entire internet- but if you met me face to face, we wouldn't have this conversation, trust me).
The boy went to his father's best friend's wedding this weekend. When he told me about it, he just said "It was so weird. It was like the memorial all over again. All these people who knew my father, and knew who I was, that I'd never met coming up to me and repeating 'I'm sorry for your loss' and I just kept thinking 'I don't know you, I don't really want to talk to you about it'".
That's something the boy and I agree on absolutely. It's such a frustrating useless phrase coming from strangers. I know, peoples' hearts are in the right place. It's just, they either knew the person well and are dealing with the same loss as you or they didn't and you just don't really want to hear it. Because in those moments when you feel loss most acutely, the rest of the world doesn't really matter and it seems like everybody else is just trying to invade your privacy.
Of course, what was the first thing I said when the boy told me his father had recently passed away?
"Oh god, I'm so sorry".
And he of course started in on the "mumble, mumble, coping, glossing over" until I said "No, I really, truly am, my father died when I was sixteen" and the glossing over turned into the heartbreakingly honestly inflected "oh, so you know" that basically admitted the last sentence was a total lie.
Yeah, so I know.
At least, I like to think I do.
But every now and again, I realize, maybe I really don't.