My ten-year-old niece died last week.
I can’t look at anything in my house and not think of her. I can’t even watch Spongebob Squarepants anymore, because that was our thing.
She was at my house practically every day ever since she started school, so every time I was at home we’d lie in bed and watch cartoons. When I would inevitably get distracted and start mucking about on my laptop, she’d yank my face and make me focus on the screen.
We spent hours figuring out which Spongebob characters would correspond to the people we knew. She was always Sandy, because she thought gender-matching was a requirement. (Strangely, she thinks it’s okay that I’m Spongebob.)
I don’t think I really understood what grief was before now. To be honest I’m not quite sure I really get it yet.
Somehow I think my body just interprets sadness as exhaustion. The funeral was last Sunday; I came home after the service and just slept the rest of the day away.
The very idea of interacting with people was (is) unbearable, so I took the next day off and just stayed in bed and stared at the ceiling. The most productive thing I did that day was attempt to organise the contents of my kindle.
Talking was a chore. It kind of still is, really. The last few days had me mostly miming, talking only when necessary.
And if I thought regular me was already unpleasant, I wasn’t quite ready to meet this even worse version.
It seems like my exhaustion has gone beyond physical and I can’t even be assed to act halfway decent anymore. Did you know that grunting your answers earns you weird looks? I do now.
But life requires that I participate. Properly. With zest and vigor. I have to be out there, being all okay and shit when all I want is to stay in bed, get drunk off my ass, and watch reruns of South Park for the next five years.
It requires that I act like everything is fine, because otherwise I’m making everyone else not fine, which is inconsiderate.
And who wants to be an inconsiderate jerk, right?
The best part of my day now, really, is my morning bus commute. I know I complain about it time and again, but that’s only because if whining was an Olympic sport I’d have more medals than Michael Phelps.
Truth is, that hour and a half (or two hours, sometimes) of sitting alone in a rickety bus is the best thing ever. For a couple hours, no one talks to me. The most I have to do is bark my stop at the conductor and shove money in his/her hands.
Then… sweet, blissful solitude.
For two hours I don’t have to be anything but sad, and that’s really all I can ask for.