Sometimes, in between creating new Pro Tips, I go back and look at what I have made so far. It’s important for me, mostly so that I don’t repeat myself, but also so that I can keep in mind what these really are.
Last night, I had a dream. It was one of those jumbled dreams that mixes memories with your minds inventions, that leaves you feeling haunted the whole next day. In my dream, I was in Matthew’s room, but it was a different room. It was painted over, but the original color was starting to come through the cracked paint on top. I was doing some writing in the room, not sure what it was about, maybe about Matthew. Whatever I was writing was making me upset, his mother was coming to check on me. But the room was suddenly extremely disheveled. The paint began to crack more and more and the room was messy (something that would never occur currently in there, as it is used as an office now). While looking at the paint, trying to peel it back, I noticed that not all of the colors were the correct color, and this upset me. Then everything got really mixed up and muddy. When I woke up, I didn’t know how to react, but I was suddenly hit with the actual memory of his room and the aqua color that filled the walls, his bed in the corner, his computer along with all of his techy projects on a table, a dresser, his closet with no door. Bits and pieces of computers and plastic strewn about, a rubix cube. I was flooded with the memory of him in it, but also the memory of the emptiness after he died.
After he died, when I finally went into his room, it was so heavy in its emptiness. The emptiness was suffocating. All of his things were still there, everything still in, and out of, place. But then some things jumped out at me. The book he had been reading the last time I saw him, a GED text book, abandoned on a top shelf in the closet with no door, a picture of me from school, tacked to a bulletin board, all by itself. His computer, which he had completely wiped clean, hard drive emptied and stripped. His message, carefully penned on the wall in permanent marker. The weight of his gone-ness was so oppressive, the air, deflated. I could feel the absence of his life.
This is a memory that I have not had come up in several years. I know there is a lot of dream theory that suggests dreams help you sort through and process things that your mind cannot/does not during the day. Also maybe that the color of the paint being wrong is somehow tied to my feeling like memories get distorted and that we start to weave a narrative around a memory until it becomes something different entirely. Either way, it brought me back to my list. It brought me here, searching for an existing pro-tip that would remind me of something, that would nudge me forward, etc. I could not find one which encompassed everything I needed in that moment, (which clearly means that there are tons more to write) but one did stand out as relevant.
44) Grief is a cycle. It goes around. And comes around.
Someone once asked me at what point I felt that I had truly moved on from Matthew’s death. I plainly told them that you never actually let it go or move on, but it becomes less loaded and less oppressive as time goes on. I remember his mother sending me a quote, shortly after he passed. A quote by Anne Lamott:
“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp”
So I suppose the Pro Tips are my limping dance. And that this dream is the grief coming around. And that’s fine. The one thing that I try to explain to people who have recently lost someone is that it really hurts to remember. For a while. It takes a long time to not have memories tied to extreme emotions. But you have to hear them out. If you don’t hear them out, if you bury them and ignore them, they become sort of distorted and infected. And then every time they come up, they are painful and they stab you in the gut, or the heart. You kind of have to look at them like scars. You can see them as ugly or disfiguring, or you can see them as an addition to your story, a plot twist that makes your journey unique.
I may not have wanted any of this, but this is where I’ve ended up and I’m glad I can be here to share this piece of my story with you.
Thanks for reading,