On Being at the Centre
Long before mom died, or grandmas, or grandpas, or any of the friends I’ve lost, I’ve always thought of grief as a sort of apex – an event most profoundly affecting people closest to the centre, with complicated concentric circles radiating out, that include a vast network of connections, all tangled up. A discovery of closeness that you didn’t know existed, and a realization about how far away life can take you.
This is the closest I’ve personally been to the centre. I don’t know if it gets any closer, as a person without a partner or a child to lose. And my new reflection, about being this close to the centre, is that it’s a process moving back out from that point.
Death now seems to me to be a vortex, a tractor beam, that draws you into a flurry of organization and activity, that’s about finality, about discovery and rediscovery. It’s about sorting out the last details, taking and giving what you can.
For me this experience has largely been about letting go of a place and time that I’ve carried with me my whole life. About figuring out what’s left when that time and place are gone.
I read this thing once about how people think of time in relation to striding forward, looking into the future – when in reality, we mostly fall backwards into the future, watching the past accelerate away from us.
I’m personally working on turning around. Lost, and found.