Today’s prompt is about living in a changed world, and finding ways to live inside that changed world (or not).
With so much emphasis on finding the silver lining and coming back from hardships even better than before, a lot of our grief language tries to make this new world seem just as good – or even the same as – the world that dissolved with your loss. That’s not only dismissive, it’s wrong. That world that was is no longer, whether it changed entirely for a moment, or in part, forever.
If we’re going to meet ourselves in this new world, we have to start with telling the truth about where we live.
“I was living in a rainforest. I knew the trees and the frogs, the lush green life. Its rhythm was my rhythm. With no warning, I was shoved into the desert. I know this is the desert; you can’t tell me it’s not. Take back your plastic palm trees and your cups of water masquerading as my oasis; quit telling me it’s the same place. I know better. I know where I live.”
— Megan Devine, from my collected journals.
How do you live in a landscape so vastly changed?*
I was living above ground where things sprouted and grew. The world above ground was beautiful and full of experience.
I was part of this world above ground. I felt at home. I felt needed. I felt loved.
Above ground is where I lived my life with my parents, together in all that we did.
It was a peaceful night above ground.
We were all where we were meant to be, sleeping safely in our homes.
Then came the thundering collapse.
The collapse that took the lives of my parents.
The collapse that left me feeling speechless, thoughtless and lifeless.
Now I live underground.
It’s so dark down here.
I don’t know where to find the things that I need.
The things that I need don’t live underground. They used to be above ground with me, always.
Now nothing can be found.
There are only hard surfaces and blank moments.
My movements here feel slower and more forced.
There’s holes all around me underground. When I peer through the holes, I see people I know passing by. They look alive and well.
There’s a lot of noise and business. It all scares me. I want something more quiet and gentle.
The gentleness that I’m craving left this earth.
Every moment down here feels like dripping water.
With every moment, comes a drip from above. Every drip that falls on my sprawled out body brings a new wave of loss.
Every drip is another moment we’re not together.
Every drip is another regret.
Every drip is another moment that was supposed happen.
I live underground waiting for something that I know no longer exists.
I wait anyways.