Grief and Guilt
I'm 28 years old, and this is the first time in my life that I have ever known someone who died. I've been extraordinarily fortunate in that regard.
Now, I find myself, for the first time in my life, feeling personal grief. I know that what I am feeling is only a fraction of what Mike's wife feels every day, not to mention the hours and days right after his death. It's entirely different from the times I have tried to look through a window into someone else's grief, and I find myself swept away by it.
Last night, as I tried to read for my classes, I just kept staring at the same words, not comprehending. Today, my heart was not there either. I have immense obligations at school in the next week, not to mention family obligations, and I have this feeling that this grief is a selfish indulgence, a distraction. The reason I feel that way is that my thoughts are at least as much about how I feel about Mike and how it makes me feel as they are a sadness for those who survived him, who had to deal with it in a much more visceral way than I am now. I wonder if grief is always this personal -- will it be this way every time, with me thinking about what the person meant to me, instead of what they meant? Is the concept of meaning even relevant when you are talking about a person?
I just don't know.
Postscript: Shortly after posting this, my random selection of Rhapsody tunes yielded up REM's "Sweetness Follows," both melancholy and optimistic. Stipe's murmuring vocals on this track have always grabbed me by the guts, but it is especially poignant now.