Picture a TV. On that screen place an image from a scene in your life where you felt your highest level of rage. Now pixelate that image. And destroy the TV. Take a baseball bat to it. Drop it off the Grand Canyon. Immediately I see my childhood set. A retro, Jetson’s-looking thing with bulbous front and antenna. I ask the image angrily: Why won’t you love me? I don’t want to pixelate you. I want to yell while I have you trapped here. But seeing the scene this way makes the face a stranger. I squint and look closer; it's in pain.
A bat? That doesn’t seem right. The Grand Canyon? I launch it but it dissolves mid-throw. I am scared of the height, nauseas. I shake my head. I would never launch you pixelated and disarmed into a cavernous hole. I pick you up tenderly like Gollum and march you home. It’s spring, pleasant. I hear the hose deep watering the orange trees. Standing at the door, I know what I will do. I don’t linger; I pick you up and place you on the curb for the trash to collect. You must go, but my instinct to hurt you is gone, gone, gone.
The most important thing I read this year was a post from @amanda_booth:
"Being in a relationship with any person, married or not, for many years, isn’t easy. Don’t let the embellishment of other people in their perfectly posed instagram stories make you feel like anything from a rough patch, to pure devastation isn’t normal. Love is a choice so much of the time, and you gotta fight for it. "
I’ve started making capsule envelopes to put into my photo boxes. This one holds our trip to Mortimer Farms, a poem by my husband and some pressed carnation petals. Date-stamped to remember this day and our season of learning to fight for love. The exercise described above taught me an important lesson about grief: it is tactile. It craves the structure of physicality like laying flowers on a grave or getting a tattoo or hearing the ground crunch beneath two hiking feet. I take photographs and memory-keep as a container; to put boundaries on the lessons I learn, to stamp them with a date. The click-click brings a small closure; wrapping string around this envelope and tucking it warmly, safely away.