Carrying a Decade of Grief

This piece is hosted at Medium


I don’t always remember the date you were gone. It was the day after Thanksgiving. The phone rang, and without even hearing the words, I just knew. The world shifted a tiny bit… Just enough.

Just enough to throw us all off.

Even though I can’t always remember the date, I can still feel it. Sometimes it fits in my pocket. Small enough to go undetected to anyone but me. I pat the pocket, just to remind myself that it’s there. Sometimes it’s so big I wear it like a heavy coat. Let myself get wrapped up in it.

Today marks a full decade of carrying this grief, in all its varying sizes.

Will ten years feel different? Nine didn’t. Not seven or three. There is no relief of weight. There are days and months of light — my grief is still a tunnel though.

It hides itself in different places.

It’s in a dozen songs that sound different now, and a whole album I can hardly listen to. In books that will have to stay on shelves, a musical that carries a slightly different tune. It looks like a tattoo that, I promise, is not always visible.

Ten years.

A passing of time that is at once impossible and pointless. A decade. A day. It’s all the same. It’s all moments. Moments that are great, but even at their peak greatness, there’s a nagging feeling that it’s all just missing… something. Someone.

Maybe those years don’t matter. Maybe that space of time isn’t real. I can travel back and forth between today and ten years ago. And fifteen years ago. Twenty.

I think of Emily Dickinson, measuring every grief she meets with narrow, probing eyes. I think of Dashboard Confessional, carrying their picture for luck. Then I think of playing Nintendo in your garage, and I think — maybe those ten years never happened.

Maybe these ten years haven’t mattered.


They have. These things I’ve done, these years that have passed — they’ve meant something. They’ve mattered, and that’s all you asked of me, sitting together on that last Thanksgiving day.

Moments matter. Songs should be listened to. Musicals should be sung, loudly, with the windows open. Books should be read, and lives should be lived.

Cracks heal. Even if there’s a scar.

…I’ve carried this grief for a decade. But I’ll carry you for a decade of decades longer.