On a train ride home over the weekend I was having a discussion about what I'm going through, and about grief in general. "How are you doing?" they want to know. Then there are serious faces and sometimes as much as a hand on your shoulder. "How are you reallydoing?"
What I find difficult to explain is that I am perfectly fine -- and yet I'm completely wrecked. I get up in the morning, I go to work, I see movies, I laugh at parties, I get excited about doing fun things. I'm really fine. No different from my "normal" life, as far as I can tell. Except that I am also sad all the time.
Imagine that someone buries a tiny black stone inside your body which never warms and always pains you, or the sharp edge of a bullet fragment is embedded in your side, and that small piece of jagged metal just lives inside you for the rest of your life. None of them bother you constantly, but more when you move differently, when your posture or attitude is otherwise compromised. When, like this morning, you see an armored truck parked outside of a bank.
You take on a bit of color, and the sadness is just something you carry. It changes you slightly, another tiny weight to add to all the other weights that everyone carries.
"Why don't you call?" your friends ask. And what is really difficult to explain -- and, I assume for people to understand -- is that talking about it doesn't necessarily help. Going to parties doesn't help. Watching TV doesn't help. Being alone doesn't help. Nothing you do or don't do really makes any difference. And the only thing that does fix it -- time, presumably -- is the only thing you can't do anything about.