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I was visited by grief this weekend

A grief narrative by Laura Quiros

I was visited by Grief this weekend. It comes when it wants to. Often times unexpected. But if I think about it, as I am right now, there is a pattern to when Grief likes to show up. It usually stops by when the house is quiet, my girls are away with friends enjoying their lives. Grief likes dusk, the time of day when the world is in a place of liminality, the day is not over and the night has not arrived yet.

Grief does not beckon me to bed or outside to take a walk, it gently pulls me to the mantel in my dining room where my mom’s ashes are still packed tightly away in the box they arrived in last June 2021. Right next to the wooden box of my mom’s ashes is a wicker basket filled with cards from her memorial, the girls’ school pictures, a beaded necklace from Carla’s’ 14th birthday party, and her cell phone. There is a candle on the mantel that I light almost every day, as a way to welcome her in, and dried flowers next to my bat mitzvah picture of me and her and of the 4 generations of women-me, my mom, my nana and my bubby.

Grief invites me to sit in a chair right next to that mantel and then it lays on me like a weighted blanket, all encompassing, heavy and warm. Memories surface, and instead of pushing them away I focus on them. Grief pulses through my body, reminding me of those moments of joy and pain, of laughter and tears and I feel very alone, untethered, and so I cry. The feeling of “untetheredness” is interesting to me because it sits in a complicated place of freedom and of fear. I am untethered from the generations of intergenerational trauma and from the ways that my family of origin operated; lies, decent, abuse; yet I am also alone in this new place of freedom from that. I am left to create my own, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. And so, I think about what is it that I have inherited, that I want to nurture-the warmth in my mom’s touch, her innate care taking ability, the way she remembered your favorite desserts and showed up with them, her love of reading and processing, her cooking, her culture and her love for humanity.

Grief usually stays for the rest of the night finding solace in my body, mind, spirit and soul. Sometimes Grief peters out slowly during the course of the next day, the heavy blanket starts to lift, the intensity of the images and memories start to fade, I can see and hear my girls again in all their glory and I’m okay knowing that Grief will be back.
- Laura Quiros