I wish I could grieve the way they do in romantic comedies. Curl up at home and cry loud and hilariously. Sit in my underwear and stare at the TV with hollow eyes, a comical cliche.
I wish I could grieve in romcom style because romcom heroes only think they’ve lost everything. They’re funny because we know they haven’t. They don’t make romantic comedies about people who really have lost everything. Romcom heroes lose their jobs and have a better one two hours later. Romcom heroes lose their girlfriend in order that they can meet The One and realise they never really loved the first one anyway.
They don’t make romcoms about the man who lost his job and drank himself to death alone, never finding another one. They don’t make romcoms about the man who lost The One. They don’t make movies about what happened after Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan broke up, because in real life, grief isn’t a blip. It’s not a comical phase preceding happily ever after. In real life, grief is what happens when the world has robbed you of something you can’t get back, and you have to sit inside yourself and try to find a way to cope with the utter irretrievability of it all.
There is no way to convey to another person what is going on inside you when loss swallows you. There are only words, and words will never do the job, not properly. The people you turn to for sympathy will understand that you are sad, that you are lonely, that you are hurting…but they’ll try in vain to grasp the full horror of it.
If you’re lucky, that is. Most people won’t even try. And you can’t blame them.
How can you properly explain the sudden, brutish blow that arrives out of nowhere and leaves you doubled over like you’ve just been sucker punched by a bouncer, weak at the knees and gasping for breath? How can you explain the weight on your chest, pressing down constantly like stones on Giles Corey, till you’re sure they must press you right down into the earth?
How can you explain the buzzing in your head, the fog that follows you around and dulls your senses, so everything takes twice as long and everything looks too far away and too hard to attempt?
How can you explain that there is a plague within you, an infestation of swarming crawling nightmares that is eating you from the inside out and that soon the plague will burst into the open and you’ll be revealed as the husk you are, your insides utterly devoured?