The Griefy Train

The Griefy Train
All aboard the Griefy Train! Pardon? You didn’t know you were invited? Well a lot of the passengers on board the griefy train didn’t know they had tickets either. We just find ourselves on a long ride full of crowded carriages, dark spaces, parties with the living, tearful reunions, sad reflections, and side eyeful conversations about folks who have never been on the Griefy train before. We welcome you to the incredible individual adventure of death, loss and grief. You are not alone and everyone here is a reminder of that. Except for the one you might be grieving for. We apologize. Get over it. Just kidding. We’re so sorry for your loss. We never met the person you have lost or might have never experienced such a trauma or can’t even relate to your story at all because of a lack of compassion we carry but try to pass off as being the nice thing to say to someone when they never asked for your fucking condolences in the first place. Because maybe they’ve never met you and don’t know who the fuck you are so step back bitch and get off me so I can sit here and cry into a bucket of ice cream that I know will tear apart my digestion system later on, but right now my grief is overpowering my severe intolerance to lactose. Speaking of loss.
Your ticket provides you the opportunity to speak openly about topics you’d never mention with your father… ummm… Grandmother… ugh… counsellor? Okay, counsellor. Hell, you’ve never had some of these conversations with yourself out loud. Like what is your own mortality going to look like? I hope it’s sudden. Unlike the folks standing, sitting or laying beside me. Or what relationships you should try and mend before the last words you speak to your loved one are words you can never take back. Like, “You’re adopted”, “You’re right, our child doesn’t look like you” “You make me very unhappy” “I can’t forgive you” “You are the father.” You know, little things like that. This ticket also makes you reflect on all of the conversations you won’t have with the loved one who has recently passed away. As the Griefy Train blows its whistle of steam, sirens, screaming, horns honking, banking tellers telling grieving clients that they will be right back with the grievance cash from the cheque the Band Office gave your family to help out with additional funeral arrangements, you do your best not to forget the sound of your lost loved one’s laughter and their voice. Your ticket is a ticket of undying reflection and sadness until the train stops at your own final destination. It is always turning and always whistling. Whistling so loud that you can’t always hear the loved ones who are still alive and surrounding you with realness and food. But it is your ticket. And yours alone. Each of our tickets are different. There are those who carry with them a pocket of tickets .
The Griefy Train makes sudden abrupt stops. Like things in life seem pretty manageable on the outside, but on the inside you host a series of rage demons. But they stay quiet. You’ve worked on them being quiet. You didn’t even knew you harbored these creatures. But when you boarded this locomotive of loss and laughter you get your own sitting area, so it accommodates the remaining parts of someone who has experienced a loss. For a great loss. One that shakes the very foundation of your station you get a posse of folks who check-in with an abundance of questions and make sure that you are also alive and eating. “Are you eating? How are you eating? Are you going to the grocery store? Did you want to go and get something to eat? Trauma really impacts eating after loss, eh? Karen Carpenter died of anorexia? Pardon? Well it was a heart attack, but the anorexia contributed to it. She must have felt so much pain. Sorry, want to go out for ice cream, Mr. Lactose Intolerant?” So many questions. Delivered in different ways at different times, that cause you to jerk abruptly, wishing you had been wearing a safety harness to stop you from crashing into those warning emotions that are signs of what to do or what not to do, but in those moments you do your best to smile and stop thinking of going into the griefy train’s drink car. Or sex car. Or buffet car. Or empty buffet car. Or the rage car. Because you want to make all of those stories and memories and jokes and timeline events just go away and make everyone go away so that you don’t have to meet any new people who might or might not also be on board the Griefy Train and might just be looking for a friendly person to connect with, because maybe they heard about you before your father passed away, and thought maybe you two could connect. But this train is wild ride, because now he’s gone, and before your partner left you to be with someone else and to chase after their career dreams and then say “You’re not replaceable.” Insert head tilt and confused dog expression here) and now you wish it were easier for you to connect with the dead than it is to connect with the living. But this is the Griefy Train. Because after a great loss, any type of great loss, you begin to think if you will end up on one of those television shows on A&E about interventions or maybe make an appearance on Cops. Dream big! Keep your circle small. Stop meeting new people and making new friends or falling in love with new people. Because they’re just going to die on you anyways.
When they do die then the train suddenly stops and you get out at the next station, buy shoes if you need to buy shoes, make a pot of soup if you make soup, buy flowers if your boujee and help with someone begin their coping process. With their own grief and their own loss. Which is different on how you’re grieving and that’s okay, because maybe we don’t have the knowledge of how to process death or loss. And for some death and loss enacts a reaction of muscle memory. We do our best to help others cope. Because we’re not alone. We’ll each experience that great loss at least once in our life. A child. A parent. A grandparent. Our healers and leaders. The folks we look up to. The folks who made us laugh. The ones who’s hugs were just the best. Our first loves. A healthy relationship.
We board this train for different reasons and at different times. Sometimes we see familiar faces that we can recount stories with of the ones we are grieving for together. Sometimes we need to recount those stories alone as we say our goodbyes to the folks who we were sharing stories with only moment ago. Until we each reach our final destination, treat everyday like it is your last. Leave those we need to walk away from. Lean on those who are on similar journeys. Be patient, make mistakes and ask for help. Make that new friend. Live out that dream. At the bottom of the each passenger’s ticket on board the Griefy Train reads:
You have purpose so live it.

One thought on “The Griefy Train

  1. Oh I’m so happy to have stumbled across your blog
    I have also been aboard the griefy train and can relate … condolences just don’t work…
    I saw your presentation at my university and I just want to say I really admire what you are doing and how you speak truth to people.
    A lot of what you said really resonated with me and I would love to watch another one of your talks . I liked how you smudged before you started the presentation and I just admired how authentic you were in a world filled with a lot of people who wear masks
    Anyway I thought I would just extend a thank you, for being you .


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