The Year of Grieving
“I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine, and when my life is over, remember when we were together, we were alone and I was singing this song to you.” - Leon Russell (1942-2016)
It's been a hell of a year: Prince. Bowie. Natalie Cole. Alan Rickman. Pat Conroy. Leonard Cohen. Brian Bedford. Tammy Grimes. George Martin. Joe Garagiola. Patty Duke. Muhammad Ali. Gwen Ifill. Elie Wiesel. Gene Wilder. Edward Albee. Arnold Palmer. Robert Vaughn.
And that's a partial list.
I feel like I've been in mourning since New Year's Day, when Jo Stewart, the leader of my first writing group, died. And I guess that's true.
The people on that list weren't friends. I have a letter from one who I dared to thank for the wonderful memories I have of him on stage and in film. But their talent enriched all of our lives. Our world feels a little less joyful knowing their contributions have come to an end. So grieving them is necessary and appropriate.
Since I fell and broke my hand (4 fractures, 5 pins) in late October I've been grieving even more. I labeled my feelings "self-pity", because it could've been worse. I got mad at myself for crying as I struggled to dress and shower using only my left hand (I'm right-handed). But yesterday I began to see it differently.
I'm grieving for the full stop on my new book and its Indiegogo campaign. I'm grieving the loss of income from canceling presentations. I'm grieving the inevitable spike in medical bills. I'm grieving the loss of normal independence. I'm grieving all those things and more, because even the knowledge that it could've been worse is no consolation.
So as I hunt and peck with my left hand, trying to ignore the pain in my right, I have to let myself grieve. I tell people all the time to let themselves grieve, but it's advice that's sometimes hard to take.
It's been a tough year, even without the election. And it's not over yet. I'll keep hunting and pecking and missing deadlines. I'll treasure the memories of those we've lost. I know I'll be back full-force at some point.
And I'll let myself grieve.