I think the worst thing that could happen after losing someone you love, someone you’ve spent virtually your entire life with, is the inability to feel. No grief, no heartache just the inexplicable dread that one day, could be a year, a month or a week, that cold, lifeless hunk of flesh, stuffed into old clothes might be you.
There is a constant, dull ache in your chest, right where your heart is supposed to be and no matter what breathing exercises you indulge in, it just won’t go away.
Family, friends and colleagues hover around you after the funeral, expecting you to break down at any moment and give in to hysterical weeping, but all that grows within your heart is panic. The fear, that you might just burst into gleeful laughter instead and ultimately, horrify everyone who’s ever known you and thought the world of you. So you avoid everyone as much as possible, nod instead of verbally responding to the never ending “I’m sorry for you loss” and ensure the food and drink supply keeps them distracted. A lot of the visitors around are only there for the free food, you know it and they know it too but hey, that’s the stuff condolence visits are made of so you try as much as possible, to keep a bland, non judgmental expression on your face when you overhear the old ladies from Church arguing about who ate the last piece of chicken.
For a moment you forget that they’re dead and then it hits you suddenly, like a really bad joke that they’re gone and you’re probably never going to see them again. Then you start to wonder about the afterlife. What really happens after we die? Forget the so called near death experience accounts, those can never truly be verified. You start to wonder if your loved one is somewhere, quite near, fully conscious and aware, watching you and growing resentful at the fact that you aren’t grieving enough. Or maybe the dead are just hibernating, waiting in some sort of spiritual limbo, waiting for the much purported “resurrection of the dead” and final judgment.
Either way, your own morbid thoughts start to scare you, so you grab a bunch of clueless, younger cousins and threaten them with bodily harm if they dare leave you alone in your room that night.
Eventually, a few days pass, the number of friends and relations gradually dwindles and you’re left alone with your thoughts. Then quite unexpectedly, the tears come. They take you by surprise at first because they aren’t even forced. You sob as though your life depended on it and in a way, it does because gradually, the dull ache in your chest starts to ebb away and you realize that it was there all along, because you just needed to grieve.