Saturday, February 12, 2011

Melancholy Baby

KEEN \ˈkēn\ (verb)

1. to make a long and loud cry of sorrow: to lament.
2. to lament, mourn or complain loudly

I love this word and the action. If more of us keened when grieving, we'd probably all feel a lot better. Something about keep grief to oneself makes it fester, infect, poison. Keening regularly--wailing, crying, rocking--would open wounds and let them drain.

Lately I have keened, sometimes unexpectedly. I think it does help, but grief is such a strange entity. I have old and new grief. The old grief surfaces at odd moments, almost like a lost treasure. When it hits, it's more surprising than painful, I think. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm grieving over a particular event or person until it slams into me.  Other grief is newer, fresher, harder, more persistent and tenuous, in part because I can't quite convince myself of the actual loss. I still think I can dive down into the depths and dig and salvage, even though as I do so, I am drowning and gasping. So it is definitely time to let go and to grieve. To keen. Except to do that means letting go completely of a dream, an idea, a longing. I am having trouble with this currently, which is strange to me, because my whole life has been about saying goodbye to people and letting go.

As a military child, I was always saying goodbye. I learned to treasure my library and my toys, which were portable friends. Real live friends were always harder to acquire, and once I got comfortable, I would have to leave them anyway. I think I got pretty good at leaving. And even though I've been stationary (more or less) for the past 16 years, I can generally say goodbye and mean it and move on, although of course I have regrets and sadness. But now...I am having trouble. I don't want to continue to leave people, either physically or emotionally. I want to stick around. I want them to stick around.  I have no one in my life that I knew from elementary school. Or high school. Or college, even. The longest friendships I have only go back around ten years. No one has witnessed my steps; my footprints have barely indented the sand. So I have only my memory of beautiful moments to sustain me--the ones who shared those beautiful memories have long since moved on. This sometimes seems unbearably sad to me.

So I keen. To lament, mourn, or complain loudly.

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