The day my sister dies I clean the windows of my front door. My neighbor, Suzanne, is coming back from her shift at the hospital and I say, “My sister died today and all I can think of doing is washing windows.”
She comes up to me and I cry in her arms. What else do you do when you lose a sister?
You get drunk. That’s what else. A day before my sister’s funeral I get drunk at supper time. I have neither courage nor energy to make myself even the simplest of meals. In spite of being lubricated with alcohol my mind is amazingly able to remember a new café which I noticed the other day on my way back from yoga. With the false reassurance of a drunk I head out. I observe myself stumbling a few times. Concentrate on your walking, I tell myself. With determined focus I make it to the café. But for a couple sitting at the far end of the restaurant it is empty. I choose to sit on a stool at the bar and order a bowl of soup. I am careful to speak slowly, not to slur but I suspect that the waiter is up to my camouflage. My face likely shows the drunkenness which comes from sorrow.
I am beginning my grief and it feels like a cave I have been thrown into without a map. I do not know how to navigate this loss.