I wish grief worked like it worked on television. You go through a few months of sadness, but in the end a hot guy is waiting for you to remind you to live again. You can even go to commercial or press pause if it gets to be too much. Grief doesn’t work that way. Grief – real grief – is a constant that lives just below the surface of everything we do. I talk to my friends and I go to work and I even laugh. I live my life however sad it may be.
I recently started writing a book and a script. I actually managed to finish the first chapter of the book. It’s a small accomplishment, but I was proud of myself because I haven’t been able to finish anything is so long. I have anxiety disorder. I stressed over every word and worried that I simply wasn’t good enough. But I finished this silly chapter about a silly family who discover they’re dragons. It was a good moment. Like all good moments in my life, I really wanted to tell my mom. Two years later and I still instinctively want to pick up the phone and tell her about some silly part of my day. Remembering that it’s not possible is the worst moment.
It’s that moment that leads to me crying on a bus on a Saturday afternoon. That moment forces me to remember how to breathe to keep the anxiety attack from consuming me in public. That moment makes me want to pause my life. Not suicide, but pause it. If my life is in pause then she won’t miss any more moments. She won’t miss me having children or getting married. She won’t miss a screenplay I finally sell because I remember her always-encouraging words: “Look at this shit on television. You’re way better than this.”
But that’s not how life works. There’s no pause button. You can’t put grief on hold. So I don’t. I have good moments. I have shitty ones. I remember to breathe. I accept that I’ll grieve. I repeat it all over again.
In short, I live my life.