Since you asked...
It shouldn't surprise me but it does—this kind of grief is of the living sort. I feel it. Corporeal, heavy, breathing inside my chest with me, pushing against my ribs and threatening to crack my sternum. I see the bone splitting in half as if struck by a bolt of white-hot lightening.
I joke about being really "extra" lately. I am a lot. I am, apparently, the type of person who wanders through TJ Maxx looking at frying pans and imaging her bones shattering, fragments scattered like constellations against the dark insides of her body.
So that's fun.
I'm learning. (I'm so tired of learning. I'd like to stay stupid forever, next time, please.) I'm learning to recognize this tiny infant monster living inside me. He isn't regret, and sometimes he wears doubt, but really, his skin is just scales of sadness and loss that scratch beneath the surface of my skin.
Another surprising thing: the blinding brightness of this thing. He glows in the dark, luminescent. He reminds me of those horrifying sea creatures that live in the midnight zone of the ocean—all tiny eyes and sharp teeth— neon green, bright blue, sharp white, florescent yellow, a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors moving and pulsating along the ocean floor. My breathing rocks him to sleep before he can open his jaws and devour me.
But also, sometimes, there is joy. Overpowering joy. I look around me and survey the kingdom I've made. Every object, from the bowl in the sink to rug on the floor exists as part of my self-made Eden. A home from which I'll never be expelled. My time in the wilderness— eating the dust of the cursed ground, hands bloodied by thorns and thistles—all over. Joy.
Warm, red, the color of my closed eyelids before I open them to the sun, it wraps around me in an embrace so strong I can feel the broken pieces of bone inside me find their matches, puzzle pieces that interlock and make me whole again. A benevolent boa-constrictor that slowly crushes grief while filling my lungs. Almost magic.
This is how I'm doing. There's a sea creature and a boa-constrictor curled between my ribs. I'm still breathing.