Skip to content

Ruminations on Death and the Weirdness that We Call Grief.

April 14, 2017


*** The following mess of words is not really a typical Bastards piece. In fact, it’s really only been written because I didn’t have any other choice. It is certainly not a topic I would have willingly chosen, but sometimes that option gets taken from us. In all complete honesty, it’s a piece written solely for me. If you choose to read it and find something of value in it, great. If not, there will be no hard feelings. In truth, I wasn’t going to post this at all. I was going to write it, appease the shitty little muse who planted it in my head, and then delete it. Unfortunately, something keeps compelling me to post it. So here we are. An array of thoughts about a dead man most of you never knew. Ain’t life grand?***


“The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.” – Stephen King

I’ve had a recurring nightmare recently, in which my now dead father jumps out at me when I open my closet door and drops me to the ground while rattling off any number of business transgressions I have committed since his passing. To those of you who weren’t at the memorial and haven’t heard the story this particular nightmare steals from, you won’t fully understand the abject terror it has caused me. I think it’s only natural to think in terms of ghosts and supernatural when a loved one passes, as it gives us hope that they might still be around. There is no ghost, however, that is more terrifying than that of memory. The kind that sneaks up on you in the still of the night when you least expect it and punches you in the chest so hard that your eyes widen in shock and breathing becomes difficult. Stephen King may be right about the ghostly muses, but it’s the latter of the two that has compelled me to stare at this infernal screen and try to find some way to rid myself of the nightmares that currently plague me.

It is no secret that the Five Stages of Grief are an actual blueprint for handling loss. What they don’t tell you, is that you can float between them like some kind of sado-masochistic bird that can’t decide whether to attempt flying into the eye of a tornado or just saying fuck it and landing in front of the meanest feral cat you can find. My favorite stage thus far has been denial. It was a lot easier just pretending the man had trotted on down to Acapulco for a wild ten days than it was to admit I’d never be seeing him again. Bargaining has probably been the weirdest stage. The idea that there might be a way to sell yourself to the devil of the universe in exchange for one more day is, in all honesty, quite comical. I admittedly laughed at myself when I realized what I was doing. Depression has been the easiest of the stages to handle as it’s something I wrestle with every fall/winter and at times like this, it almost feels like home. The stage that has been the hardest and that has caused the most discomfort (and the one in which I currently reside) is anger. It started last Thursday morning. I woke up raging at the world for reasons I didn’t understand. I am not by nature an angry man, but this has caused me to pick fights with family members, yell at people on the street (though some have argued that they deserved it) and nearly caused me to pick a fight with my significant other whom I would never aim a hurtful word at. Now before the idea escapes that I might be angry at my father for dying, I am not. I am mad that he is not here anymore, but I am not mad at him. Which makes this a terrible stage for someone like me to be in, because I have nowhere to direct this. There isn’t a DMV for the dead where I can walk in, kick over the ‘Take a Number’ kiosk, and wreck unholy hell upon whatever poor bastard happens to be behind the counter. There is no one to blame for this. Not a doctor, not a drunk driver, no one. It was a pulmonary embolism and that was it. For someone like me who finds logic in emotions, this anger is directionless and illogical. It won’t bring him back, it won’t ease the pain, and it certainly won’t make life easier. So, I think it has manifested itself in the form of nightmares. Nightmares that do a complete disservice to my father. It gives me someone to be angry at. Not the ghost dad, but me. Again, completely illogical, but what about dealing with death isn’t?

I realize this is a complete departure from my usual style/subject, but I woke up this morning to find that I had been visited by one of King’s ghostly muses last night. When I opened my eyes at 5am, there was a mix of images and words scattered across my mind. Some were clear as day, others were like looking through a fishbowl. They floated around my head like some kind of airy dance of death, begging me to pay attention to them and give them life. In my weakness, I acquiesced. Now I find myself asking what kind jabbering goat would force something like this on the public. After all, there are very few who have any sort of stake in the above words, and they will most likely never read this. Maybe it’s because it’s how I’ve always handled things. Or maybe, it’s to appease the ghosts of the past that have moved themselves into the present.  Either way, I hope that by doing so, the darkness once again becomes a friend.

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: