My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.
Remember how it was when we kissed? Armfuls and armfuls of light thrown right at us. A rope dropping down from the sky. How can the word love and the word life even fit in the mouth?
Life's a freaking mess. In fact, I'm going to tell Sarah we need to start a new philosophical movement: messessentialism instead of existentialism: For those who revel in the essential mess that is life. Because Gram's right, there's not one truth ever, just a bunch of stories, all going on at once, in our heads, in our hearts, all getting in the way of each other. It's all a beautiful calamitous mess. It's like the day Mr. James took us into the woods and cried triumphantly, That's it! That's it! to the dizzying cacophony of soloing instruments trying to make music together. That is it.
This is our story to tell. You’d think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven’t. I’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the story telling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever.
Everyone has always said I look like Bailey, but I don't.I have grey eyes to her green,an oval face to her heart-shaped one,I'm shorter, scrawnier, paler, flatter, plainer, tamer.All we shared is a madhouse of curlsthat I imprison in a ponytailwhile she let hers ravelike madnessaround her head.I don't sing in my sleepor eat the petals off flowersor run into the rain instead of out of it.I'm the unplugged-in one,the side-kick sister,tucked into a corner of her shadow.Boys followed her everywhere;they filled the booths at the restaurant where she waitressed,herded around her at the river.One day, I saw a boy come up behind herand pull a strand of her long hairI understood this-I felt the same way.In photographs of us together,she is always looking at the camera,and I am always looking at her.
grief is a housewhere the chairshave forgotten how to hold usthe mirrors how to reflect usthe walls how to contain usgrief is a house that disappearseach time someone knocks at the dooror rings the bella house that blows into the airat the slightest gustthat buries itself deep in the groundwhile everyone is sleepinggrief is a house where no one can protect youwhere the younger sisterwill grow older than the older onewhere the doorsno longer let you inor out
The sky's gone blue: azure, the ocean bluer: cerulean, the trees are swirls of every hella freaking green on earth and bright thick eggy yellow is spilling over everything. Awesome. Doomsday's most definitely been cancelled. Landscape: When God Paints Outside The Lines
This is our story to tell. He says it in his Ten Commandments way and it hits me that way: profoundly. You'd think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven't. I've never once thought about the interpretative, the storytelling aspect of life, of my life. I always feel like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in ita telling whatsoever.You can tell your story any way you damn well please.It's your solo.
And I see that his brown eye has a splash of green in it and the green one a splash of brown. Like Cezanne painted them. Impressionist eyes.
Nor that he's regarding my face with the same intensity I am his. We're two paintings staring at each other across a room.
No I contradict myself. Picasso he do too. He say pull out your brain, yes, he also say, 'Painting is a blind man's profession' and 'To draw you must close your eyes and sing.' And Michelangelo, he say he sculpts with his brains, not his eyes. Yes. Everything ia true at once. Life is contradiction. We take in every lesson. We find what works. Okay, now pick up the charcoal and draw.
The sky's gone blue: azure, the ocean bluer: cerulean, the trees are swirls of every hella freaking green on earth and bright thick eggy yellow is spilling over everything.
Mom has a massive sunflower for a soul so big there's hardly any room in her for organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share: a tree with its leaves on fire. And Dad has a plate of maggots for his.
There are people everywhere standing in line at the movies, buying curtains, walking dogs, while inside, their hearts are ripping to shreds.
I'm in self-imposed exile, cradled between split branches, in my favorite tree in the woods behind school. I've been coming here every day at lunch, hiding out until the bell rings, whittling words into the branches with my pen, allowing my heart to break in private.
I drop on my back on the bed, panting and sweating. How will I survive this missing? How do others do it? People die all the time. Every day. Every hour. There are families all over the world staring at beds that are no longer slept in, shoes that are no longer worn. Families that no longer have to buy a particular cereal, a kind of shampoo. There are people everywhere standing in line at the movies, buying curtains, walking dogs, while inside, their hearts are ripping to shreds. For years. For their whole lives. I don't believe time heals. I don't want it to. If I heal, doesn't that mean I've accepted the world without her?
For days and days, the rain beat its fists on the roof of our house— evidence of the terrible mistake God had made. Each morning, when I woke I listened for the tireless pounding, looked at the drear through the window and was relieved that at least the sun had the decency to stay the hell away from us.
I don't believe time heals. I don't want it to. If I heal, doesn't that mean I've accepted the world without her?
Sadness pulses out of us as we walk. I almost expect the trees to lower their branches when we pass, the stars to hand down some light. I breathe in the horsy scent of eucalyptus, the thick sugary pine, aware of each breath I take, how each one keeps me in the world a few seconds longer. I taste the sweetness of the summer air on my tongue and want to just gulp and gulp and gulp it into my body--this living, breathing, heart-beating body of mine.
As I walk through the redwood trees, my sneakers sopping up days of rain, I wonder why bereaved people even bother with mourning clothes, when grief itself provides such an unmistakable wardrobe.