Please welcome today’s guest writer, Aemelia Tripp. Aemelia is a 2013 graduate who majored in strategic communication and minored in music. She owes her love of song to her father, who introduced her to the world of Bob Dylan. Aemelia lives in Grand Rapids and is a proud mom to many plants.
Sometimes I cry in bars, sometimes at work, often at home and many days in my car. It’s a mixed bag of grief—the loss of two people, one dead, one alive, both lost to me. Sometimes I feel like one grief is more deserving than the other. One was not my choice, the other I chose. One grief was thrust upon me, unexpected, sudden, but then my mind turns to the other: I picked this grief, knowing it would come, so somehow I’m less allowed to grieve? I know this can’t be true, but I struggle to accept my grief for someone I chose to leave. I think “I did this to myself, it’s what I wanted, so be happy already!” But grief is a process. It comes in waves with times of contentment in between. When the waves come though, they devour me and all I can do is wait to catch my breath again.
Both griefs surface at inopportune times and randomly. One day, I’ll cry, the other, laugh. And many days I stand in the sun, but with clouds in my eyes. I feel like I need to be constantly doing something to ease my grief. Like if I stand still for too long, I’ll melt into a little grief puddle.
So I read articles on grief from my therapist, books of poetry by Rupi Kaur. It comforts me to know how other people have dealt with these feelings, and part of me thinks I can speed up the process by knowing everything about it. And Rupi’s poetry soothes me and awakens me all at once. I relate to many poems in her latest book, and peeking into her experiences makes me feel less alone and more hopeful that an end to these laments will come.
I consume podcasts on my Enneagram type, comedies on Netflix. I want to understand why I am the way I am, but I also crave distraction. I need to tear myself away from my brain every once in awhile—to empty myself of grief’s pressure.
I write feelings in my journal and poetry when memories crash through my mind. It’s the memories that make me ache—ones I can momentarily revive through the lens of the past, but memories that eventually rob me of my present. So when the memories come, I honor them, and then try to let them go. This poem is an ode to the memories and the grief I didn’t choose:
Juice drips from your hands
You say want a slice
It’s these memories that make me think
Saying goodbye is so hard
But I do it everyday
When I recall the way you loved us
It makes me want to stay
Right here in the memories
And pretend like you’re not gone
I forget that I can’t ask you to
Tell us stories
From long ago
When you met her and knew
You’d build a life
With the one you love
So here I am, one product of it all
I will remember you always
When the juice from my oranges falls