there were six of us in my grief group.
one of those confidential things.
we couldn’t talk about who was in it to other people.
and you didn’t want to admit to anyone that you yourself were in it.
i never lied about going to it.
but i thought about it.
the third day we met, there was a fish bowl on the table that we sat around. it was perfectly round and full of clear, pure, water.
there was paint next to it.
we were told to pick an emotion we felt.
grief isn’t just grief.
grief is so many things, it’s complex. it’s all of these emotions that just eat you up inside and you have to take the time and sort them out, and that’s the first step to getting better.
sort it out. then there’s acceptance.
the emotion i picked was shock. shock dominated everything that i had felt so far. shock shock shock kept my anger at bay. which was a good thing.
i picked white paint for shock.
when we were asked to share the emotion we picked and the color, i went first. i said the words ’shock. it’s white.’
and our counselor opened the white paint and poured some in the perfect fish bowl full of the perfect water.
the five other people went next. anger. sadness. betrayal.
it was all poured into this fish bowl. the counselor stirred it up with a paintbrush.
by the time that innocent fish bowl was through with us, six hurting people, it was the nastiest shade of brown i had ever laid my eyes on.
there are a lot of things that i want. they change from day to day. but most days, most days i want assurance.
right then, i wanted that bowl to be clear more than i wanted to live.
i kept staring at it, that innocent bowl that was so clear and pure, now suddenly filled with paint that made it look like the color of shit.
i just kept thinking that i was that bowl. i was so innocent and clear and pure. and here i was, sitting there staring at myself, a nasty shade of brown, swimming with grief emotions that i couldn’t sort out, didn’t have the time to sort out, didn’t have the guts to sort out.
our counselor had some type of bleach that was supposed to make it go clear again. we watched as she poured it in and she stirred it, but it didn’t go clear. we all laughed about how it was supposed to work, and of course it would if she tried it again when we weren’t there.
but i honestly don’t think it was meant to work.
going back to clear would be way too easy.
and it’s not even plausible.
no matter what i think, there’s no way i’m going to be clear again.
i’m a fish bowl.
i’m not brown anymore.
but i won’t be clear again.