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  • Writer's pictureSharon Uy

#20. Grief is a Chameleon

The longer you look at it, the trippier it gets until it just... is. At certain angles, things begin to make sense. Then all sense is gone again. I try not to think until I'm done, and even after. Speaking of nonsense and nonthinking, I feel compelled to share the second agreement (of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, beginning p. 13) as a gently and lovingly suggested reading.


Grief is, among other things, a chameleon.

It's as simple and as complicated as that.

Something happens--a loss-- and here comes grief to climb upon your branches, wrap its tail in place, and stay a while. Or forever.

Grief fascinates and scares me, the way you never seem to have a say,

the way it comes and goes in whistles and waves,

and yet it's always a straight shot to the truth.

They say that grief remains the same size and that we just grow around it,

like weeds that find their way to the sun through a crack in the cement.

Whether you have time for (the illusion of) preparing for it, or (usually) not,

grief is thrust upon you, becomes a part of you as it takes something for itself,

an appendage,

an empty ribcage.

An exercise in joining,

Grief takes on many forms,


hides in plain sight,

becomes a bag,

a boulder.

It grows older

with you.

An exercise in juxtaposition,

Grief is action, inaction

too loud

and too quiet

too much and too little

an alarm clock set to all hours though there is no sleep left to interrupt,

wanting to be held and

to be left alone,

drowning in tears

on a barren desert,

Grief is

the deep bass of the drumbeat

the whispery buzz of the gnat

the bare brush of static

the world and its weight collapsing on you

all at the same time.

How, then, is anyone to survive?

If grief is a chameleon and a chameleon changes color

then surely it can latch on to a single thread of silver lining

and from that thread, a rope,

Grief becomes a tether.

First everything becomes a somehow-

somehow breathing

somehow alive

somehow doing

somehow being

somehow here.

Grief is pause and possibility.

Grief takes the place and fills the space of new absence,

our connection to what has gone ahead

a bridge to nowhere

but where we know

that Grief is

the wound and the scar

the blending of


and nothing

There's grief

and there's what we do with it

or what we don't.

Grief is love, they say, without a place to go.

Not so, I say.





<3 Brookie

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