It appears to be a fact, unavoidable, hard and sharp, that grief, the intimate and ever-present dull throb that is a song’s note or a spoken word’s or a who-knows-what-the-next-trigger-will-be-moment away from pouring out as tears, is deeper and more difficult in the second year. It has been nine months since Sydney’s death. I guess I am three month’s ahead of schedule.
The tears of sadness that have fallen since June 9, 2018 appear to have worn away, drip by drip by each slow roll down my face, a lining that wrapped – and maybe protected – my sense of self in the midst of All That Is, like the dripping of water over stone. The image presents itself as a dark comedy with the demonic chortling gleefully and saying, “Funny how you thought your sense of self, the I that looks out from behind yourself, your very consciousness, could be the most fundamental part of who you are, inviolate.” An absurd notion which took only tears to erode.
Love has been unable to protect me from Loss. The idea that deep sadness is the result of a great and abiding love is troubling, false in my mind, and ultimately, is an overly simplistic consolation. “You grieve deeply because you loved deeply, Eric.” Oh, that explains it! NOT…
Just wait until those tears wear through the Grief of Loss so that the Grief of Neverness lays bare and throbbing and so painfully dull.
In his profoundly deep and moving Lament For A Son Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “It’s the neverness that is so painful. Never again to be here with us – never to sit with us at table, never to travel with us, never to laugh with us, never to cry with us, never to embrace us…never to see…(a) sister marry. All the rest of our lives we must live without him (her). Only our death can stop the pain of his (her) death. A month, a year, five years – with that I could live. But not this forever….One small misstep and now this endless neverness.”
I will never share a donut in the morning with Sydney again. Yes, I have the memory of Sydney’s early childhood donut-eating technique where she would face plant and eat the donut from icing on down. Should a Memory of the Past be enough to buttress me against the Neverness of the Future? Sydney, Corinne and I used to chant “Donuts! Donuts! Donuts!” on our frequent trips to Marsh Supermarket to start our daily adventures. Though the memory of those moments is strong, the joyful, expectant and hungry cry is faint now.
The neverness of ever eating donuts with Syd again even pulls up a chair at the kitchen table this morning while Bay and I enjoy the latest and greatest yeast donut to show up in the Noblesville area courtesy of Rebellion Donuts. Balyn. Me. Neverness. I did buy four donuts this morning, initially thinking, two for Bay and two for me. Now, though, four has a different meaning. One for me. One for Bay. One for Corinne. And one for the Neverness of Sydney.
Wolterstorff writes, “When we gather now there’s always someone missing, his (her) absence as present as our presence…When we’re all together, we’re not all together.”
Welcome to Forever Neverness-Land! Where tears are always welcome and donuts are always eaten…