Grief on grief

Last year my long-term relationship evaporated overnight. While I can’t say there were no warning signs, they were certainly faint.

Silver linings from that have been similarly faint. But one upside has emerged in the wake of another painful loss — my mother, the other most important person in my life, died this fall. The warnings signs were louder this time, though the end was still very sudden.

Sadly, because of that earlier grief, I am more prepared for this one.

It doesn’t lessen this new pain, of course. How I wish it did! What it did do was show me how deep grief works so that I was not so surprised this time around. Surprised by how the early shock makes you think it might not be so bad. How the waves overtake you in small moments when the conscious mind lets go. How continuously exhausted you can be simply from feeling so much. How every time you think you’ve hit bottom you find out you were wrong and there’s farther to fall.

Having foreknowledge has helped me be steady on my feet so I can support my father, who is thoroughly surprised by all this. Less than two months in, it is only getting worse for him just as he thought it would be getting better. Yet for all my understanding I can’t fix any of this, for him or for me.