Before my brain had processed what February 1 means, my body had started. How is it possible that the unfeeling atoms in my body can align, know to align, to vibrate on a wavelength of grief and loss, at this exact time?
They cannot look at a calendar. They cannot schedule a day of mourning to coincide with the day of loss.
And yet, they know.
Not waiting for my brain to catch up is a mean trick, because I start to wonder what is wrong with me, why it is so hard to get out of bed in the morning, why tears feel closer to the surface. I have dark images of spiraling into something severe, something unrecognizable. My ability to tell myself that it’s okay to have lower days, that it’s okay to move slowly and take care of myself, almost disappears as I struggle to go through the motions.
When my brain does catch up, when it realizes what time of year it is, the realization is a relief. There is an explanation, which it always craves. It expects to then feel better with this knowledge, with this reasoning.
It doesn’t feel better.
The body and brain may now be in sync but now the brain tries to override. To out-think. To tell those grieving atoms to wait until Friday, save the tears for the day, a day you can call in sick, a day that I, Brain, can put a box around and isolate.
The body doesn’t listen. It cannot listen, it is grieving. It was biologically altered four years ago by a loss, as if somehow even one of the atoms that was released from my father’s body bored into my being and took control. This same atom that connects me to him also makes it impossible to be the same person I was before. One little atom.
But, no. Not just one little atom. Many more were released into the universe, so not only am I different, the world is also different. Every thing that dies changes the composition of atoms, and when this change reverberates in those still living, we grieve. Down to our atoms, in our cores, in our essence. It seems magical because it is unexplainable.
I do not believe in a god but I believe in this force. It now feels as real to me as hunger, as exhaustion, as cold. I am happy to be reminded of this force even though I am sad, even though my brain cannot logically process it. It is another way I can carry my dad with me, and for that, I am grateful.