It’s an odd thing, this gratitude I feel for so many gifts that have come my way since Chris’s suicide. How can I be grateful for a book I wouldn’t have written had he not jumped? How can I be grateful for a story I couldn’t have told? How can I give thanks for the new people who’ve entered my life in the aftermath, the new surges of love I’ve felt, the new places I’ve been with my kids, the new adventures I’ve had since his death?
But I am indeed thankful. And yet this bizarre and blessed I-am-thankfulness doesn’t diminish the horror of what came before or the pain that still throbs because of it. This is the yin-yang of our messy, mashed-up, miraculous human lives — the push of living that sends us forward, the pull of death that makes us grieve.
What a job we have ahead of us when we’re born! “Hey kid,” says Whoever’s in charge at the gate. “Squeeze through this tube, pop out and scream, then shit all over your parents. Then scream some more. After that, laugh. Be sure to howl in agony at life’s exquisite torments. But don’t stop laughing. And keep shitting. Do this until you die. Now, off you go! Have fun! Don’t forget to write!”
If anyone explained all this to me at the outset, I honestly don’t remember. Took me a while to figure that out. It’ll take me a while longer to figure out the rest. Maybe we can help each other do that; I certainly can’t do it alone.
In the meantime, because I know I have to plug myself no matter how badly I suck at self-promotion, here’s the link to my story for “The Moth.”
And here’s the obligatory Amazon link to my memoir of life after my husband’s death, “Figuring Shit Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival.”
Even better, here’s a link to the book on indiebound.org, where you can find a local independent bookstore. And if you click here, you can order it via indiebound from The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. Or, if you feel like a drive in the snow, I’ll be appearing at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19: click here for that.)
That’s about it from me for now. If my memoir or my story helps a few people struggling with grief to feel a little less alone, then it’s served its purpose. I’m grateful for that, too.