This week I witnessed the ushering in of grief. A tsunami, a spilled glass of milk, a strike of a match. Cold waves, contents released, heat. It materialized out of nowhere. In a blink, my friend is whisked away to a new country, a land of sorrow, where I cannot follow.
I remain here, shaking, sad, troubled.
I try to imagine her new world. Maybe she sees the UPS man walk up the driveway and thinks: how dare you pretend that a package needs to be delivered. Maybe the sales clerk's greeting pierces her heart as an arrow tipped in poison. Maybe she curses the warmth of a spring day for the empty promise it carries.
I just finished reading Helen MacDonald's memoir, 'H' is for Hawk. It is a striking and spectacular portrait of grief, if such a thing is possible. MacDonald's father dies unexpectedly on a London street and she is sent tumbling pellmell through unfamiliar terrain:
There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realise that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realise, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.
I'd like to write a complete review of the book, which is much more than a beautiful elegy to a lost father. The author trains a ferocious bloodthirsty hawk and my jaw dropped at least once a page. But this week, I can't summon any more words.
Photo by Volkan Almaz
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