Grief is a Strange Animal

It’s a lurking creature. You never know when it’s going to strike.

Earlier today, my grandmother passed away. She had been having heart complications for the past five weeks, and although we thought she was recovering, she suddenly took a turn for the worse yesterday. My mother and my uncle flew out to go be with her and my grandpa yesterday evening, and they were able to spend hours with her before she passes. Mum says she recognized them, which was important.

I’m not sad now. I might be, in five minutes, or an hour, or five days. I’m aching for my mum. I’m aching for my grandpa, because he’s lost the woman he spent his life with. But I’m not sad that she’s gone. Right now.
Right now I’m not sad that she’s gone.

There are people who you love because they’re incredibly nice, giving, generous people. There are people you love because they’re quirky, affectionate, friendly, because they have that special something that makes you click, and there are people that you love because they’ve stood by you in the hardest times of your life and made you laugh.

And then, there are people you love just because they’re family. I loved my grandmother because she was family, because she was human, and because of that, I can forgive the things she’s said. There’s no use holding grudges against those who are gone of this earth. I can forgive how she hurt my mother, I can forgive the things she did that made me burn with hatred because I don’t even think she knew she was doing it. It was how she learned to do things, I guess.

My favourite story of my grandmother was one she told me herself: the story of how she and my grandpa became an item. She was out with her girlfriends one day, eighteen and giggly, and a group of young men walked past. My grandma pointed at my grandpa, and told her girlfriends “That’s for me. That one’s for me.” I can still remember how her eyes triumphantly sparkled as she told me this story, finishing with “And now he is.” She had her heart set on him from the minute she laid eyes on him, and it’s with that kind of sweet romance that I’m going to remember her; as the young lady who swiftly chose her own man with all her heart.

I hope you hear me, grandma, somehow, when I say that I do love you. I’ve always loved you. I hope you give ’em hell wherever it is that you are, because lord knows you raised enough of it while you were here. Goodnight, Grandma Carol.

© Emily Bragg 2013

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this cage

stacked accusations
tempered by blind apathy
who hurts now; later

repents with spun words.
quietly justified, he
builds his blind fortress.

girl wings flutter, strain;
he forges two more cage bars.
torn feathers, wild eyes.

silence sometimes stops
but go is waiting, waiting.
then she flies too far.

hurt masked by kindness
swiftly sours to black demands;
damp down clings softly.

let her go, I scream
feathers rustle, two eyes open
“i can mend this cage”

whispered words through bars
this cage will not be mended;
girl wings realigned.

she climbs aerial
cage and sour scent fades on high
and healing begins.

© Emily Bragg 2013

Let Me Hurt You Not Again

I know a girl whose thoughts masquerade as gilded golden trophies, hiding doubt and angry rabble crossing ‘cross her splintered mind. I don’t know her mind at all, and yet I know so much; the rest I fabricate. I don’t know when I hurt her and when I do I can’t retract the words because I don’t know which of them sting, hidden barbs so clear to all the rest.

I love this girl.

And after all these years she remains a clear-cut enigma, my projections falsifying her reality. I forget she has weaknesses, so much do I aspire to what she does, what she says. I don’t understand how someone so incredible can see such warped reflections of themselves, so much so that I, I pose a threat. Lash back, I think. Hurt me like I hurt you. I wouldn’t know what to expect.

Dear, refuse my words. Craft yourself a vessel of barb-proof determinism and push off, sail away. I want your words and mind spread before me, but if I can’t carve a space for myself without cutting too deep when my knife slips sideways, push me out.

I never thought I was the stronger one. You were always the brighter light, I only tagged along. And to hear that all along you saw me as brighter? My mind reels. I don’t understand. I can’t be who I am without you, because you define me. Every shared tryst, every joke, every silent moment we’ve built together is the foundation of who I am. You have given me so much strength, and now I only hope you’ll let me try to give some back.

But if I ever become an enemy, cut me down.

© Emily Bragg 2013