My grief is changing. I can feel it. It's shifting and transforming. It's settling in.
At the beginning, everything is so raw and open. Sorrow and rage and shock join forces in the dark and rush at you full force. Grief stabs you repeatedly in the heart with the sharpest knives imaginable. Blood pours, thick and metallic, from your wounds. It bubbles up and out, choking your screams back into your throat. The beginning is flashes of pain, thunderous screams, and gnashing teeth. You lay on the floor, weak and beaten, helpless to do anything about the fact that all the light and goodness that once filled your soul is seeping out onto the cold tile. You wait to die. You are pretty sure that you will. After all, what else could you really expect? You have just been torn open like a gutted fish. But, you don't.
As you lay there, bloody and broken, expecting the darkness to just take you away, you realize it's not going to. You don't get to escape. This is the first shift of grief. The shift from painful chaos to sorrowed silence. In this stage, you don't really do much of anything. You've been ravaged by wolves and you're really too weak to even move. So, you lie there. Drained. Empty. Full of nothing but an echo of what once was but is no longer. You wonder how you will ever get the strength to move, let alone stand. Eventually, you do. You wiggle your fingers and your toes. You bend your knees and your elbows. Slowly, slowly, slowly, you manage to pull yourself upright. You are still a bloody mess, bits of you still raw and hanging.
This is the third shift of grief. This is the part where you attempt to put yourself back together. All of the pieces ripped away and torn apart - you gather them up and you try to shove them back where they belong. Only, they don't really fit. Some been stretched out and ripped to shreds. Other parts of you are lost forever, and you will never have them back. So, you do the best you can with what you have left to make yourself resemble a human again. This stage is never really, truly done. Throughout the rest of your life, you will always have to rearrange your pieces. Tuck things in, pull things out, move things over. Nothing fits right, but it's what you've got.
Then comes the settling in. Once you've figured out the basic mechanics of keeping yourself in place, you have one more thing to do. You have to make room for your grief. You can't leave that behind. It's a part of you now. It's a hard, lumpy boulder that you must fit into yourself somewhere. You nestle it in among your soft insides, the weight of it crushing the air from your lungs. It's heavy and cumbersome. It makes you hunch over with effort. Maybe one day, your muscles will gain enough strength to straighten up, but not yet. For now, you are Quasimodo (which in Latin means almost, merely), misshapen and malformed. You limp through your life, weary and burdened.
This is where I am now. Carrying my grief inside like a rock. Hard and unyielding - and as much a part of me as Kenley ever was. It's exhausting. Day in. Day out. Heaving this load around inside me. I can't set it down. I can't let it go. I don't know what else to do except live with it. So, that's what I do. What I will continue to do until it shifts again.