I Can Write What I Can’t Say
Twinkle is dead. Three words I hate writing. Three words I can’t say aloud. I could make it easier by using a euphemism but Twinkle was direct in her dealings and I’ll honour her by grappling with her death head-on. It feels right that I do. In the written form at least.
I can write it. I can make myself type out the brutal truth but I cannot speak the words. I am mute when it comes to talking about her. Except with Michel. We talk about her on and off all day. Memories surface and one or other of us smiles and shares. We have so much to remember her for. But it’s raw right now and I need time for the process of grieving to take its course.
She died on Friday and by Monday after withdrawing from all social interaction and feeling stronger, I thought I could sit with my friend and neighbour Sue and tell her what happened. I couldn’t. My throat choked on the words, I couldn’t release them. Instead speech became tears. Grief took away my self control, mashed it up and spat it out. It was too soon to be doing more than muttering muffled words through choking tears. Twinkle deserves more coherency from me than this.
So I’m writing. And avoiding almost everybody and everything beyond Michel, and the sisters and brother Twinkle’s left behind. Society traditionally allowed this, a period of social withdrawal. Today with social media’s omnipresence, there’s a loosening of traditional rituals. Which is not always good.
But I’m opting for this now, a period of mourning. I’m disappearing into my own thoughts and memories. I’ve been here before, grief is a swallowing creature which shows no mercy. The pain it inflicts is real. But time will heal its wounds. That I know too.
I feel too fragile to interact. Too close to tears to be of any use.
But yesterday was a better day, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon by the time I cried. I’d gotten through breakfast – the 4th without her – a long walk across the familiar fields without her; lunch with 3 not 4 dogs, all dry eyed. Albeit there’d been a threat when we reached where this picture was recently taken. I knew when we stood together at the top of the field it would likely be her last time.
But I’d seen off those threatening tears, helped by Albert Claude throwing himself up the rough bank lining the path and into a delirious run through the long grass. Who wouldn’t smile in the presence of such abundant joy? Even when my heart is dark and heavy, weighed down by grief at Twinkle’s death I smile at the joy radiating from the brother she’s left behind.
Then, at just before 3 o’clock, I opened my emails. There was one from Twinkle’s holistic vet who we’d last seen at the turn of the year. I’d written to tell her the news, I knew she’d want to know.
“You already know it, but you have been an angel for Twinkle, she will now join the stars and shine.”
That was it. I crumbled at 3pm.
It’s why messages and emails lie unopened, for now. But I take comfort from knowing how much people cared about her, how many loved my little dog and I read a few at a time. Not many, just enough to move me on, to assuage the grief. Which condolences from both friends and strangers do. I am deeply thankful for every word of kindness that people send me, if hurting and a little lost. But each day that passes brings less chaos. More strength.
“Her absence is like the sky spread over everything.”C.S Lewis