Happy birthday, Grief! You’re 18 years old. A newly matured adult.
While it’s been 18 years since you were born and became part of me, you’re mostly locked away. There are days though, like today on your birthday, when you remind me of your presence, Grief.
You remind me of the painful reason you came into my life. How that first year was probably the roughest young teenage me would go through. As time went by, you became a part of me that surfaces every now and then, but you allow me to live a relatively sane and normal existence (bar some trust and confidence issues that will probably always be there).
In those first years you felt raw and painful – like an open wound covered in salt. The wound has been patched for the most part. Thank God!
When you turned 14, there was a shift. A turning point. It was exactly half my life since you entered and half my life since dad had been gone. I knew from that point it would always be that you were with me longer than he would ever be. It made me sad but forced me to push you further away so you only surface about twice a year now.
Sometimes I wonder about the type of me I’d have become without you, Grief. Would I still be as painfully shy? Would I have more confidence? Would I trust more easily? I’ll never know.
Today, and every year on this day, you tend to scratch at the scars on my heart, strumming it the way my dad did his guitar strings. It plays a familiar, haunting melody that wakes the memories of that last day my dad was with us. I wake in the chair by his bed and see him open his eyes one last time to look at me. And then he’s gone and you take over, Grief.
But these days I’ll only allow you in on the big days. Because you know what, Grief? I like laughing and smiling and living and so did my dad.
So visit for today if you must, but tomorrow and all the other tomorrows they’re mine for laughing, smiling, exploring the world, and living life to the fullest. That’s what my dad would have wanted for me.