A note on grief. It is long and complicated and when you are doing dishes and the world pauses, it doesn’t matter how many years have passed, how many stages you’ve been through, you are frozen, staring at your broken heart, your piece of you that’s gone and it hurts like it was yesterday. It both passes & stays. It both brushes and assaults you. It feels like a bottle that is inside of you waiting to fill up and overflow. When I am not grieving I am aware of it, aware that it is temporary and that like a wave, it will come back to shore when my back is turned to it. And it will knock me underwater. Flailing, gasping, weeping, yearning for it to go back. He can feel so close. Both my dad and my life with my dad. They are so close when the grief is so strong. They are right there, right out of reach. And it’s what makes the pain so bad. I am forced to look at it right in the eye. Me and a tiger looking at each other knowing the only way out of the ring is to be eaten alive by it. There’s no going around it or putting it aside. The only option is to let it take control of my body. All the other days, it is the other way around. It is my body fighting it off and pushing it as far away and shoving things in my life and in my day so that I can just avoid eye contact with it. So I can just try to fill the days with the joy and the happiness and the noise that the beautiful world serves me every morning. But when the grief hits, as it does like clockwork, I am powerless. I give in to the pain and to the yearning and the aching for a life that doesn’t belong to me anymore. It is inside of me and part of my bone structure and my beating heart but it is no longer my routine. It is a relic. It is a beautiful shiny gorgeous taunting relic. I know it is something that doesn’t work anymore but I look at it and I beg it to come back to life or to take me with it. To let me go back to the softness. Grief is a vacation back to the joy and the comfort and the peace of the person you loved. You see them breathing you remember them laughing and making eye contact with you. You see their pupils. You remember their body. Their living breathing body that would hold you and hug you. You see it like you could hold it. But it is sand through your fingers. Grief is a memory. It’s the real joy and love that you try to almost forget on the other days because it’s easier to not remember. The pain is less if you forget how lovely it was. And grief holds a mirror up to your past and makes you look at it. It makes you remember what you lost. It’s why I don’t agree with stages. I don’t think of grief in stages. How could you wade through memories and a life that ended too soon. A family that broke too early. A dad who never was a granddad. A call I can never make on a bad day. A call I can never make on the best days. How can I graduate that? How does one pass through that with the passage of time? The passage of time simply marks more years you’ve missed. More memories you were robbed. Every time the mirror is slapped in my face, the grief feels as strong as the moment i didn’t hear another breath. I just screamed into my pillow. I screamed and kicked and snotted. Like a kid. Like the moment it happened. Like I was surprised. Like it was new. It’s been about three years. It’s been three apartments, two jobs, hundreds of auditions, losses, wins, haircuts, piercings, weight gained and lost, wrinkles, birthdays, and I reacted as if I was surprised. As if someone had just told me the news. There are no stages. There is no number of years that make it better. There is no better. There is just days where the grief is hiding, days where grief is building and days where grief is driving.