The Tragedy is the Trauma
it occurs to me that funerals have become my motivation for wearing makeup.
For blow drying my hair, and cleaning my already clean apartment.
I stare at the flickering of a candle I lit seven hours ago, because that’s how much time it took me to get dressed for a funeral that starts at 2.
My body is shaking, and I can’t tell what’s adrenaline, what’s fear, what’s exhaustion versus anticipation.
I’ve accepted the headache that announced itself in the shower, added extra tools in my purse for related reasons.
And somehow it’s not loss I’m feeling.
15 years of wearing this dress drapes me in that.
Nine years of funerals before I started wearing this dress to them.
Daily visits to receive the peace I only feel at the cemetery has taught me that death can heal.
Death isn’t something that shakes me, because I know it to be natural and eventual.
I know it to be an agent of rest.
What I’m gripped by today is trauma.
By the versions of loss that don’t kill us.
The uptick of things survived until we no longer can choose the side of resilience.
When holding our breath doesn’t bring exhale.
When screaming and silencing feel the same.
When what we want and what we can’t give ourselves is the same.
My body craves release as much as it speaks truth.
My head is rimmed with speakers connected to memories that play loudly only in my head,
and on afternoons like this one I question if I’m the right audience.
Am I the one who has lessons to absorb?
Has this life not taught me plenty?
Has my every cell not inherited a sense of urgency, a sense of sincerity, a kind of presence?
I am here, whether or not I can stand to stay.
I was there, even if it didn’t change anything.
I remember, even if it doesn’t bring me peace.
The tragedy is the loss, but first it’s the trauma.
no matter how many times I speak it