I don’t find things funny in the same way that I used to. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I felt the effects of a good belly laugh until I saw Eddie Izzard live a couple of weeks ago. Laughing through the mask I wore put it into perspective. Everything feels muffled, filtered through a gauze gaze of grief and imbalance.

I go back and forth on the consideration that I shouldn’t be sad, that mum would feel terrible she’d been the cause of such a thing, and the realization that sad is just as valid as any other emotion, regardless of how we try to pretty it up. Also, mum didn’t cause it so much as her sudden absence has. My mum didn’t make me sad, not being able to tell her cool stuff and hug her makes me sad.

I think about film version Eric Draven, a literal vengeful ghost, reminding his young friend that “it can’t rain all the time” because though really sad and awful things happen, we should take heart in the reality that at some point we won’t be as sad anymore. Note that I am aware he is not telling her to cheer up, and indeed the line was intended for her to realize it was he, come back from the grave to avenge his love, as it was something he’d said to her when still alive. He is merely giving her a sliver of hope to alleviate the vastness of the dark black pit which feels all encompassing in this moment.

I find it ironic that he then goes on a killing spree, enacting justice on those who prey on the innocent.

We celebrate his rage, we cheer on his anger, we are amused by his fury, but we only briefly dabble in his sadness, as though it’s too perilous to do more than that.

It’s not an emotion I’m not well equipped to manage in others, so finding a way to allow myself the space for it has been incredibly difficult. I think for the most part I’m pretty upbeat, looking for a positive albeit cheeky spin on things. If a vengeful ghost told me it can’t rain all the time, I’d probably blast him with some snarky thing about the necessity of rain to make flowers grow or whatever, I’m sure I’d think of something clever no more than 10-15 minutes after he’d said his thing.

What it comes down to is this.

The part of me that says, ‘it’s been long enough’ needs to shut the hell up. I recently heard grief described as an achy lump of blah (I can’t remember exactly the term used so I’ve decided achy lump of blah accurately describes it) inside a jar that is completely filled with it and nothing else. As time goes on, the achy lump does not get smaller, but the jar gets larger so there is space for things other than that achy lump. That makes sense to me. It’s not going away, so the least I can do is make room for it, when it shows up, and honour the presence of it, as it is a clear indication of how much I love, and was loved by, someone good.

I am not ending this with a sliver of hope, because that’s not as amusing as telling a vengeful ghost (mostly because it’s not me he’s venging at) to get bent, as I’m far too busy being sad.