Grief is a poppy field
Grief and its effects have always been part of our sentient existence on this Earth. Everyday, someone somewhere loses a loved one due to all kinds of reasons. Could be because of old age, sickness or accident… And the sickness part seems to be the most frequent these days, thanks to COVID-19. These are dark times, there is no denying. We even “grieve” for the lifestyle we used to have before our world got turned upside down. Luckily, no Demogorgons appeared...yet.
I’m writing about this topic because my personal history with grief took a huge turn in March 2015. As I write this in March 2021, I already get that tinge of emotional dread of the 27th day, as that tends to bring back the memory of that very same day in 2015. I had lost family members before, but that experience could never have prepared me for the loss of my mother.
It was pain like I never felt before. Makes the time I twisted my ankle at 12 years old look like a walk in the park, which is ironic because I was walking in the park when it happened. Only this time the bruise was inside my chest, the pain was much harder than that of a physical wound; it was the aching, gut-wrenching, difficult-to-absorb knowledge of the fact that the woman that made me who I am today passed away in the very same hospital she almost died giving birth to me. For many months, I couldn’t stop thinking this was some kind of mad poetic justice.
The following months were emotionally the most difficult ones I ever had to face. I was haunted by dreams of what had happened, hunger never came and meals were tasteless (and this was before Coronavirus symptoms “were mainstream”, unless we’re talking about the Corona beer or the popular 90s hit The Rhythm of the Night, by a singer named Corona), humour was gone so I went through the days apathetically. Basically, it was dreadful waking myself out of nightmares every day and finding no comfort in being awake. Nothing could distract me from the passing of the only person in my household that understood me and with whom I had endless conversations about all kinds of topics, our favourites being film and books.
But I wasn’t alone in this. At the same time this was happening, close friends of mine were also losing mothers, grandmothers, and even one of them had an abortion. These were some terrible months.
But we have to endure these things, don’t we? They are bound to happen sooner or later to everyone. There can be no happiness without sadness, no cheerfulness without grief, no light without darkness. They walk together, hand in hand, while we navigate between them and look for that thing called balance, and it’s up to us to learn from it.
As we reshape our personalities and views, we take away some important lessons — some we might’ve already learned from Disney movies but they’re reinforced with our real-life experiences. I guess you could say the month of March makes me feel like a mix between Bambi and Tod (the red fox from The Fox and the Hound).
So we all inevitably end up learning that it’s ok to feel a bit of sadness every now and then, just like I tend to feel a bit at the end of March. But not in the traditional sense of the word; I just miss my mother. However, balance assures me she is still with me, in my heart and in who I am. And it’s balance that makes me, and should make us, keep moving through life.
We learn to appreciate our friends and family even more. Nothing lasts forever, so it’s important to value what and who we have with us, especially in the darkest of days. In fact, we get a clearer picture of who truly is our friend in times like these, the ones that take our arm and say “Come on, we have to keep moving!” when we feel we’re going through the poppy field and the scent of those scarlet flowers are making us numb and our legs turn to jelly.
Yes, loss and grief are heavy experiences but we don’t have to go through them alone. We need to have our very own Scarecrows and Tin Men nudging us forward because the poppy field in finite and the Yellow Brick Road can be seen right after it! Also, the people we lost would not want us to be sad or cry for them forever. They would want us to live, laugh and love. Life is an ocean of emotions with depths of all kinds and we have to just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Actually, my new favourite TV show WandaVision had a quote that unexpectedly hit me and even made me cry a bit: