Grief is an Animal

It’s a panther that pounces from the dark places, claws raking across your body, physical pain created from shadow. You’re suddenly on the ground, mind screaming, emotional wounds fresh and bloody. It feels like it came out of nowhere.

It’s a python, winding around you and taking your breath away. You feel like you’ll never breathe again. How did you manage to do it, before?

It’s a chameleon that changes its color, surprising you by seemingly showing up out of the blue. It’s always been there, just blended in. You only just realized it’s been there all day.

It’s a peacock, demanding attention with large displays and raucous calling. Notice me. You can’t help it. There is nothing in your life so important as this feeling.

It’s a spider on the wall, offering you a choice. Do you get up and kill it? Do you pretend it’s not there? Or do you gently scoop it up, carry it a moment, and set it down somewhere safer?

It’s a parasite, eating you from the inside, until you’re a malnourished shadow of your former self. You don’t notice its gradual effects, but your friends notice. To them it’s obvious.

It’s a mosquito, annoying and just out of swatting distance. It leaves a hundred tiny wounds, and they all itch. Sometimes, it’s satisfying to just scratch and scratch and scratch.

It’s a seeing eye dog, guiding you through your transition into a new life and showing you how important small moments are. A small bump to remind you not to go to the restaurant you had your first date in, don’t drive through the intersection where the accident happened, don’t listen to That Song. Not yet.

It’s a pigeon, showing up absolutely everywhere, making a total mess, and discouraged from existing at every turn. But sometimes. Sometimes? It’s nice to sit in the park and feed it for a little while anyway.

Eventually, it’s a fish in a tank – familiar and part of the background of your life, but occasionally you’ll notice a movement and turn your attention there. It’s no longer a panther, just a little colorful part of you, beautiful in its own way.

And always. Always. It’s the elephant in the room no one talks about.

6 thoughts on “Grief is an Animal

  1. Vashti! I hope you are doing well, it’s been 1 month today since you last wrote something. I am checking everyday. I read your straws story and I don’t know if the story is the same – where plastic straws are banned, but if they are, let me send you some bendy straws from Denmark. I think about you everytime I am drinking saftevand with a straw.
    hope to hear from you. love, Lu

    1. I have a reader in Denmark?? That’s amazing! Hello!

      Plastic straws are still available here but you have to ask for them. I carry some with me just in case.

      There will be new posts soon, I promise! Thank you for checking every day and not giving up on me. I appreciate you, and I’m grateful to hear from you. And also grateful for your offer of straws! ❤

  2. Vaaaashti!!!!

    thank God you wrote back to me! and also thank you haha
    I am so relieved you are ok!
    I wrote to you on facebook to ask if I can add you as friend and write to you a PM.

    I am sure people from around the world read this blog. it’s amazing how you could create this complex survival guide for ALS. I was just talking to my colleague today – he is developing a wireless care-bed that registers vitals and is connected to the main hospital so patients can get help very quickly when in need – and I told him that he could develop a blanket that wouldn’t crush the toes on people with ALS and he agreed it never occured to him that it was a problem. so he got a link to read more about it.

    there are so many things that I would like to ask you about, so I hope maybe we could skype sometime. I am a big fan! I am rereading some of your posts before I go to bed and when I am getting really sleepy, I put on a video with you and I am listening. (I am dying, I demand kittens hahaha, that was the sweetest thing anybody ever said. I wish you get to swim in kittens everyday)

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