Grief Shapeshifts — But It Never Expires

Photo: welcomia, Muhammad Rayhan Haripriatna,  Ron Lach | Canva
woman having a dream of a past loved one, wakes eyes open

I'm abruptly pulled from the clutches of uneasy dreams as I am entangled in a restless dance upon a sea of sheets.

In the thick embrace of the sultry southern summer, the heat clings to my room like an insomniac ghost, its tendrils refusing to loosen their grip. The unruly symphony of a storm shatters the night’s stillness, each raindrop a percussionist pounding upon my moonlit window, demanding entrance to my restless world.

What time is it?

Groggily, my fingers navigate the dark expanse, seeking solace in the familiar contours of the phone beside my bed.

Ah, 3 AM — an enigmatic realm where introspection thrives and emotions whirl like constellations. The hour of somber reflection, where the heart’s secret chambers creak open, and the echoes of reminiscence reverberate through the corridors of my mind.

The clock’s digits, illuminated with a luminous intensity, fix their unwavering gaze upon me, almost as if they are sentient beings poring through the vast archives of my memory.

In this insomniac interlude, it’s as if they are sifting through the pages of my recollections, seeking the very essence of what keeps me awake in the stillness of the night. As I stand at the crossroads of wakefulness and dreams, the clock’s relentless scrutiny seems to beckon me toward a journey down a labyrinthine corridor of bygone moments.

In the gallery of my mind, there you stand, cradling the tender innocence of my firstborn, Miguel, my ninja, who embodies the resilience and strength that echo across our lineage. A glimpse, a moment, a connection.

A fleeting encounter with Gianni, my silent genius, his eyes a reflection of your wisdom. But in the depths of memory’s embrace, a poignant ache resurfaces — the void you never had the chance to fill when Ariella, my fiery and tender-hearted daughter, came into our world. Her spirit reminds me so much of you, that I often question if she’s really you reincarnated.

It’s been eight years since you departed from this realm, yet the ache of your absence remains as vivid as the storm that rages outside. Some days, laughter dances on my lips as I revisit the treasures of our shared past, but on nights like these, the veil of grief descends, suffocating me with its weight. My eyes, weary from this familiar battle, desperately withhold the torrents of scalding tears, only to relinquish them to my pillowcase in an unstoppable cascade.

I find solace in the raging night storm, grateful that the children are peacefully slumbering, oblivious to the raw emotions that have overwhelmed me. As lightning continues to light up the sky and thunderclaps, the moment provides a shield for my silent cries, as I seek to muffle the weight of my sobs.

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I guess grief never expires. It’s a companion that lingers, waxing and waning like the moon’s phases.

Each day, it takes on a different form, shifting between a dull ache and a sharp pang, as unpredictable as the storm that rages outside. There are moments when it feels like an uninvited guest, showing up at the doorstep of my thoughts and memories, making itself comfortable in the corners of my heart. 

As the thunder continues its percussion and the rain taps a somber melody on my window, I find myself entangled in a conversation with loss.

It’s a dialogue that echoes through the chambers of my soul, where I revisit the moments we shared, the laughter that once filled the spaces now occupied by silence. The storm outside seems to mirror the turbulence within me, an external representation of the tempest that’s been quietly brewing beneath the surface.

As I continue to sob, I wonder: If energy can’t be destroyed, only converted from one form to another, then perhaps death is not an end, but merely a transformation.

It’s a tantalizing thought, isn’t it? The essence of our being, the very energy that animates us, doesn’t dissipate into nothingness but rather finds new avenues of existence.

Or is this notion a comforting narrative we tell ourselves to grant solace, an attempt to envision our departed loved ones existing beyond the veil of mortality because we struggle to confront the possibility that perhaps this is the end? Is death a conclusive chapter?

No heavenly haven, no infernal abyss, no otherworldly domain. Just an encompassing emptiness.

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Nevertheless, I opt to persist in the belief that your spirit resides in a place where my words reach your ears.

Grandma, if you can hear me,

I wish you were here, witnessing the chapters of growth and change that have unfurled in your absence.

I wish you were here to comfort me in the moments when I feel so low and discouraged.

To share in the triumphs that have sprung from the seeds you planted within me.

I’ve finally stopped running from being a writer. I’m a writer Grandma, I’m writing now.

Are you proud?

I start to cry even harder.

I wish for just one more moment, one more conversation with you. Maybe we can watch one of your favorite soap operas or two.

The storm outside reflects the turmoil within as if the universe recognizes the chaos in my heart right now.

RELATED: The 5 Stages Of Grief — Plus 6 We Don't Realize Are Part Of The Grieving Process

As we journey through life’s complex paths, the certainty of grief and death is always with us.

These universal experiences bind us in a shared human journey, shaping our perspectives and evoking profound emotions.

The contemplation of mortality prompts us to seize the fleeting moments, cherish the relationships that enrich our lives, and ponder the enigma of what might await beyond the veil. While grief may cast its shadow, it also serves as a poignant reminder of the depth of our connections and the significance of every fleeting breath.

RELATED: 15 Healthy Ways To Mourn When Someone You Love Is Suddenly Gone

Octavia Ever After is a writer, designer, and digital artist. She loves weaving stories and visuals that captivate hearts and minds. She's had articles featured in YourTango, Yvon Lux, The Modern Woman, and Medium.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.