The Madness of Grief

“Without You” beautifully sung by Awbrey Madison

The Madness of Grief

This is dedicated to my mother Sonia. I am lost in the faces of grief in my memory of you.

Ever since my mother died I have discovered that grief is madness. It doesn’t conform to what is sensible and appropriate. It is a loose cannon; hysterical, unreliable, difficult to contain and inappropriate. Grief doesn’t have boundaries. I can be fine, or fine enough one moment, no reason to be anything but fine, and then the next minute, or perhaps hours later, not so fine. I can wake up from sleeping and find myself crying. Other days I sleep just fine.

There is no time to set aside or magical box to put grief into, and yet I continually find myself intentionally and wilfully seeking to create spaces or experiences or thoughts that give me relief from it. I negotiate with it, I bargain with grief like a child; “I can’t be sad right now because I need to do this thing, but afterwards I will spend time with you.”

Sometimes I am filled with utter happy relief that I can focus on something else, and other times I feel angry that I can’t be left alone with my grief, honestly, grief can feel like an irritation. I can feel happier, elated even, or intimately compassionate when I am around or exposed to other people’s grief. I finally understand what death feels like to the ones left behind. I feel like a child who has been abandoned. Her absence is felt that deeply to me.

At times, I find myself distracted as I strategically think about ways in which I can contain or control such a thing as overwhelming and diverse as grief. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work. Everything can remind me of my mother and her death. It isn’t just sad things but happy things too. I see things she liked that I didn’t, and even those things I find myself thinking more about. She is alive everywhere and yet completely dead. Colours don’t feel the same. Sometimes colours are too bright or not bright enough; sometimes they are indistinguishable in feeling, and sometimes there is numbness.

Now and then I fantasise, I have these elaborate schemes where I try and solve this dilemma of her death. What would I do if I knew my mother was dying and I was there with her in hospital and could talk to her? What would I say to her if I had just one day, one hour, one minute of her time alive? What would I confess to her? What could I promise her or tell her that would will her to live?

I have fantasies that merge with present day reality too; what if I went to her grave, dug her up, put her coffin in a truck and brought her home?

Another fantasy that crossed my mind was to have a baby girl and bring her spirit back that way. My desire to bring her back to life again entertains all kinds of lunacy and yet it might not be insane at all. There really is no stopping where my mind has gone; I have had telepathic conversations with babies in shopping carts, if you can believe such a thing, I have felt my mother communicate with me through them.

This article isn’t logical at all; in fact, it is anything but. And it doesn’t solve or offer any ways to handle grief; it just seeks to explain that grief very much feels like madness.


Natasha Stone