bereavement - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Bereavement has been my companion these past few years, a shadow that in time has lessened until gone. Where it once was, holding my hand, I find the flowers of happy memories instead. Where there was pain, so much pain, there is now a form of joy and pride for whom we were and what we achieved together.
Bereavement, grief, comes in waves. Though it ebbs over time it feels as if my soul needs to bleed an ocean through my eyes. Eyes that never blink, only watch the world continue in this numbing sense of sorrow.
Everything is recycled, or so that is what I see with these eyes. The atoms of one thing become those of another. The energy from one place becomes energy in another. So while I have no idea where you are, or what God asked you to become next, I'm looking forward to being with you again and I feel your love so strongly in the ether. So, call it reincarnation or recycling, I'm okay with whatever. You are still somewhere, and that's what matters to me.
The day after he died they said, "Good mourning," as if there was a gladness in the remembering, that they took some comfort somehow. Each had stood by, watched him killed, then acted as if it were a noble sacrifice for their sake, that by loving his memory the mourning became a wholesome and wonderful thing. They were cowards; none of them willing to see the difference between honourable self sacrifice and murder. Guilt will do that; lock the truth in a cage and warp love into something strange and awful. Loving him meant I would have traded places in a heartbeat, fought until we either both lived or died. And so, for me the mourning wasn't good at all, it was only the start of the longest and darkest night there ever was.
When tears came, hot and endless, Alex knew they were for him too, for the child becoming the adult, for pain entering his world without the decency to knock first.
Tyler is just staring, staring and twisting the copper wire around his fingers. In the brilliant summer sunlight it shines in that way that is too brown to be gold, but too golden to be bronze. It wraps around his still child-sized fingers like liquorice but instead of springing away like rubbery candy it holds its shape. He pulls the new coils from each finger but instead of showing me with glee like he would have done only last month his face remains passive in a way that unnerves me. It isn't right that was lost Tina, she would have been two in a couple of days, I've cried all I can for my precious belle, but now I have to think of my son. Somehow he has to survive this and he needs more than a shell of a mother to do so...
Benji cast his eyes to the fresh dug soil. Mama was down there and God had taken her. What the hell did he need her for? The priest said he “Called her home” with a dopey look on his smug little face. Benji imagined his features rearranged by the business end of a shovel. She already had a God damn home and damn God for taking her. When he got to heaven he was kicking his ghostly ass all around the God damn place and burning the pearly gates. What was left now? Home with Papa. Papa who didn't even know how to break a smile or utter a kindness, Papa who found fault in every God damn little thing and wielded his meaty hands like the raw hunks of meat they were. Papa who was already tucking into the liquor and screaming at them to buy his cigarettes. God took the wrong damn parent and if something didn't change soon he was sending dear Papa to meet him. He kicked at the soil feeling the only love he'd ever known drain right through his boots and be replaced by ice.
Ryan took one hand and leant against the ancient oak, his fingertips gripping into the crevices that ran through the bark. His eyes came to rest on the pattern, chaotic like the cracks in parched summer earth. Under his boots the golden leaves were as noisy as the static in his head. Nothing was making sense anymore, not even trees. His life had had direction and meaning, all his work had been for Maya and their life together, their future. Now, if the policeman who stood watching him was right, she was gone. So there was no reason for the world to exist anymore. Why was it all still here? He willed the world to dissolve around him, just to melt away, yet he could still feel the unweeping rough bark and the chill breeze that refused to reflect the howling pain that tore through his body. Without warning he felt his insides become wooden and he turned to the officer with a face like a mannequin, "Thank you for informing me, you can go now."
She awoke Christmas morning to the sound of her son laughing in his bedroom and her heart sank right through her skin onto the floorboards she had slept on. She didn't need to wake, the night had come and gone without unconsciousness for even a moment. In seconds she was down the stairs and pulling on her boots. He was calling her from the stairs now, "Mommy, has Santa been?" She didn't turn around just in case she could see him, instead she embraced the frigid air without even a jacket and got in her frosted car. She had to get to the cemetery, take him his stocking and blow him his Christmas kiss. Perhaps then he would settle into her memories for another year, content to be silent, invisible. By the time she was at the small marble tombstone she had no memory of how she'd got there or where she'd parked the car. As her eyes settled on the text her chest constricted, breathing became hard as she placed the red velvet on the icy grass. With shaking hand she blew a salty kiss...
How could a person sink so far? Tom, who had been the one to engulf everyone in bear-hugs and tell loud jokes, now nursed his cognac year after year; clock-watching until the obligatory Christmas dinner was over. It was no secret what happened, and even his presence now put a strain on everyone else. It was impossible to broach what ailed him, no amount of wishing would bring his wife and child back. Jokes were badly received with a forced wrinkling of his mouth that did not extend to his sagging eyes. When at last he rose to excuse himself his sister, my mother, would make a fuss of making him stay; but acquiesced a little too easily when he persisted. It was a little dance they did each Christmas, awkward but necessary. It was as if he died with them all those years ago but his heart kept on beating just the same.
Jim cried as if his brain was being shredded from the inside. Emotional pain flowed out of his every pore. From his mouth came a cry from so raw that even the eyes of the strangers around us were suddenly wet with tears. He grabbed onto a chair so that his violent shaking would not cause him to fall and from his eyes came a thicker flow of tears than he had cried for even his own mother the previous year. We expect to bury our parents one day, but never our children. The nurse was talking to him for all the good it did. The whole world had vanished for him, now there was only pain enough to break him, pain enough to change him beyond recognition.
Mom cried as if the ferocity of it might bring Ken back; as if by the sheer force of her grief the news would be undone. He was her son, her only son and he could not be gone. Even from the top of the street curtains were twitching as neighbours craned to locate the source of the screaming sobs. Dad tried to hold her back, to calm her, even as his own tears fell thick and fast but in her hysteria she was too strong, too wild. After whirling about, unable to look through her puffy eyes at the photographs on the wall, she tumbled out of the door onto the rain-kissed street. I watched her go, dissolved in the kind of despair that can take one's mind prisoner and never give it back. Once in the open she sank down to her knees in the middle of the street, bathed in the headlamps of the cars now static before her. Ordinarily folks around here honk their horns in three seconds flat, but her wailing carried in that damp air, freezing them in place, helpless, just like me...
The grief surged with every expelled breath, always reaching higher peaks, never sufficiently soothed by her long intakes of the damp spring air. Tears began to spill from her helpless eyes onto the newly growing grass. Her gaze fell from bloom to bloom. In that moment the sure knowledge that life would go on without him, that time was only stopped for her, undid her completely. All pretence of quiet coping was lost and she sank to the damp bench not caring about the water that quickly soaked her to the skin. Her black fingers clasped his school photograph, he was smiling, and why shouldn't he? He was an A grade student headed for a top university, a church youth leader and popular with his peers. But all that cop saw was a black skinned male. How did that make him less human? How did that mean he didn't need to breathe? How did that make his human rights null and void? She cast her eyes to God, she needed his love more than ever now. "Dear God, take care of my baby."
It was only in the stillness of the late evening that he could hear his late wife calling his name. He would walk to the seafront and gaze out at the waves. The ocean moved and the wind blew, but to him everything had stopped. He no longer heard the traffic or noticed other walkers. To him they were as if in a photograph - two dimensional and static. In that extended moment his mind became at peace. She was not gone - just out of reach for now.
It was more than crying, it was the kind of desolate sobbing that comes from a person drained of all hope. She sank to her knees at the tiny grave, not caring for the damp mud that dirtied her dress. Her tears mingled with the rain and her gasping wails echoed around the gravestones. The pain that flowed from her was as palpable was the frigid fall wind and soon the only person at her side was her husband, struggling to keep his tears silent, looking up to the watery skies and heaven beyond. He had to believe his baby was safe up there, comfortable and warm. To look down would be to imagine her cold in a box, bereft of his cuddles and goodnight kisses.
The howling takes my brain and mis-wires all the synapses. Somehow I can no longer think and if I try to force it the result is scrambled logic. Every gale is the same one to me no matter where or when they occur; they are all on September 9th 1986, the night my father died trying to save some idiot who should have known better than to go fishing that day. In every wind high enough to rattle the garbage cans I'm six years old again and when the trees resettle to an upright position my nails are bitten to the quick and every muscle rigid, unwilling to allow my form to unfurl.
The clothes maiden has sat in this room as long as Gran did, only there is no longer the clacking of knitting needles and a tincture of whiskey in the air. Like everything else here it is chipped and decrepit. It captures my eyes simply because of the scarf that hangs over it, the scarf of a maiden. I can't bare for it to go to the thrift like everything else and so in one swift motion it is removed from where she left it and safely stowed in the pocket of my woollen coat.