February 1, 2019

What does grief make of me?

Dipanjali R, 25

What is the work of grieving? What could come of bringing to a public forum this banality of mourning, this intense disorientation of experiencing something so commonplace it hardly even needs saying?

In transit between two cities, I lost someone I loved and, simultaneously, my dog quietly passed away in front of me. A migraine on some days, and dull insomnia on most others, grief manifests in myriad forms. Is there a socially-acceptable gradation to it? Must I confine it always to the domain of the private, the unspoken? Given how much discomfort the candid discussion of personal loss inspires in public spaces, it appears to be so. The weight of loss shifts from compartment to high-functioning compartment as I move through the daunting newness of life post-fact.

This chronicle came about through three days of non-stop writing whilst my dog was being transferred from home to the clinic and, finally, to the cemetery. Within that frenzy of anticipatory loss, it was a tether. A means of finding balance between this compression of extreme emotion against a necessary engagement with public life as a university student. What happens when different forms of loss combine?

1993

What does grief make of me?