What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Loss.

One year, two months, and eleven days. What no one told me when my grandfather died was that time is not a healer, that grief can change with each day but it never truly leaves. Since his death, I feel like I’ve been asleep inside of myself; who do you become when the only person who ever made you feel truly loved and comforted is gone? What no one talks about is the overwhelming feeling of listlessness, that you float in and out of days with no anchor to set you in the place you’re supposed to be. That you will feel void and heavy all at once by this new vacancy in your life. What no one talks about is how the color of the world will dull just slightly and never return to the vibrancy it once held when that person existed within its atmosphere.

What no one talks about is how you will go through a list of Firsts, which will sometimes push the restart button on your grief and place you back at the beginning. The first Christmas or first birthday without them here to celebrate, or the first really difficult obstacle you need to overcome in your life without their shoulder or guidance. This is where I currently reside, in the limbo of needing help but having nowhere to go. He was the only person who knew how to listen without judgment and give advice that actually had my best interest in mind. My grandfather was always my first line of defense; when a boy broke my heart, he was all hugs and To-Hell-With-Him’s and told me to toughen up because everything in life will break your heart at least once. The last question he asked me was if I was happy, and I remember taking his hand and saying yes, fully aware that it was the last time I’d feel happiness in that complete and whole way when you have everything you need.

What no one talks about is how hard it is to hold on to the tiny intricacies of that person’s life. His smell, his laugh, the way he would enter the kitchen to make you food: a quick-pitched “Schoo!” to start his work, preparing a mental list of every option he could give you off his menu of standards. He was the keeper of his family and he was more proud of that than anything in his life. I feel a jolting sadness at the thought that one day I may forget how that pride shaped my life, how it shone so bright through the menial everyday tasks and chores he’d complete to give me a structured life. He showed me that the value of life can be found in the labor you put into it. His lawn was never green, but that didn’t matter to him; he would still water it and mow it, and rake the dead away and place them in piles on the street. His lawn was never green but he tended to it like he owned the grounds of Eden.

He showed me how to take care of the things and people I love, but he never showed me how to take care of me. I clean my house and feed my fiancé even on days when my depression seems to almost drown me in its tides because that’s what my grandpa taught me. There have been days where my grief fully takes hold and disables my abilities to simply be an adult. What no one talks about is how hard you will be on yourself during those days, that you’ll feel like you’ve failed those around you. How you’ll become more concerned with how your friends, family, coworkers, even strangers are perceiving your grief. How some of your friends, family members, coworkers will expect you to move on from your loss when they feel like you should. That there will be a chasm opened up to separate the friends who are fleeting and the friends who are in it for the long haul, and that will be another form of loss you’ll have to deal with. No one will tell you that you will become a new version, good or bad, of who you used to be and not everyone (including yourself) will continue to love this newly renovated Self.

The things we don’t talk about when we talk about loss can alienate a person to a depth of loneliness where there is no light, no sound, no possible exit. And there’s nothing that will console because no one can truly know how you’re feeling, even if they experience the same loss. All I can say is that doing the best you can is really all you can do. And your best may not always work out, but the whole point of life is to keep going.

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Top Ten Films for Writers.

In some literary circles, movies are considered the enemy of the literate; a crutch of sorts for those lacking the imagination to dive into a novel. For others, the silver screen can inspire and incite, causing a new wave of ideas to flood the mind that leaves the writer no choice but to write.

Now, I am no expert on film or what elements a film should have in order for it to be considered part of the elite class, but I am a writer who has found inspiration in the films listed below, and I think those are the only credentials I need. The list is not in any particular order to denote importance, and it certainly isn’t a definitive list by any means. There are movies on here that were adapted from books, and even though the book is always better, these adaptations come very close to capturing each author’s original intention. The purpose of this list is not to say which films are about writing or writers or the drudgery of the lit life, but to list the films capable of giving writers a boast of confidence, creativity, and inspiration. Each film listed below has left me with a need to create, whether it be a poem or a short story or even just a single sentence that will eventually lead to something grand. This top ten list should act like an aid of sorts to those stuck in the trenches of disillusionment.

Feel free to suggest movies that I may have missed because Lord knows I haven’t seen them all. Enjoy!

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Stories.

One of the hardest things anyone can experience is watching the person who raised you, who has loved you before you had a name, slowly transform into a withered and helpless version of their former selves. After years of decline, it gets harder to hold on to the memory of who they used to be; the man who was always found working on the yard, tending to his home in defiance as the rest of the neighborhood succumbed to neglect. He now lays in a room off to the left down a long corridor, distinguishable only by the peeling black 104 nailed on the frame, spending his days pushing call buttons and being turned every two hours and being spoken to by loud, not-listening voices. None of these nurses or doctors know him in flannel shirts, drinking with the garage door open so he could wave and whistle. None of them know how he would bring me lunch during school because making friends was never easy. He will end his life as patient 104, the one who asks for a lot but always says thank you. There are only a handful of people left who hold those memories of when he was upright and independent, when he could show the world that he is a good man.

My grandfather and my father.

My grandfather and my father.

 

Now, all that remains are stories.

Video

That Blaring Light.

I’ve loved John Mayer for a long time. Actually, I should say I have loved what he does. People like to pigeonhole him or even denounce his talent because of who he is portrayed as to the general public, but none of that should matter. He is one of the greatest advocates for creative expression of our generation, and I understand how ridiculous I may sound right now but who cares? Watch this video. Listen to his advice. It should set you on fire.

The Reintroduction.

“You have all this time to really shut down the momentum – the wheel stops. And all this seems to funnel into, ‘Ok, you didn’t see this coming, but there’s a beauty to it that I insist on seeing.’ The beauty is that this is not the maximum depth, keep going. Go deeper.” John Mayer

Sometimes we come across things that act like glowing lights at the end of a pier that bring us back to our first and true passions; things that reintroduce us to our creative pursuits and why the hell we ever sit down and try to bang it out of us in the first place. Today was one of those days where I was beckoned by a blaring light.

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