Some people cope with the grief of a significant loss by imagining their loved one is only gone on vacation. They acknowledge the separation but are comforted by the false sense that it will be over soon. I used to think this strategy was a conscious coping mechanism. I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t a way the mind copes.
My mind has taken momentary leave of the horrid facts. I was out with my friend Vanessa and, after talking about Constance’s passing, we were flipping through Vanessa’s Instagram pictures while I asked questions. When a jury summons sticker appeared, we shared stories of being dismissed for service. I explained that I’d been dismissed for service before because I was the primary caregiver of a child with special needs. I said, “I’m definitely going to mention that again if I ever get called for service.” Then I shook my head and said, “Oh no. I guess I can’t use that anymore.” We both looked sadly at the ground before finding another photo in her feed to discuss. I felt like a bird in a coo-coo clock that appeared suddenly with a wail and wave.
I suppose any way you can get through heart-smashing, mind-crushing, future-annihilating grief would be a good way.