It’s after 11:00pm, which means I missed the Festival of Altars in Garfield Park. I couldn’t quite break the isolation hibernation. Maybe I was rebelling against a sense of obligation to go. Maybe I was too menstrual. Or maybe I didn’t want to dig that deep. I sort of regret it now.
I decided last year that I was done with the Dia de los Muertos Procession. It felt a little too much like Burning Man, and was needlessly confrontational. I suppose I’m too white to complain about the cultural appropriation of a holiday that is not even mine. But it’s the holiday I cherish the most.
On past Dias de los Muertos, I’ve gone into a grief spiral. Last year was not pretty. I’ve learned that I’m too vulnerable to be out in the crowd on this night. I prefer to stay in the park with the altars, especially before the Procession arrives.
But this year I didn’t even leave my house. Probably for the same reason I haven’t written in this blog for almost a year, or answered any of your emails.
As time moves on, it takes more effort to think about Mike’s suicide, as well the other deaths in my family that followed. The pain will always be there, because how could it not? But life moves on either way. And over time, it takes more effort to tap into the loss.
It’s a blessing, actually.
But I also feel guilty about how much less I think about it now. Shouldn’t I want to go and cry over my dead brother? I had an emotional meltdown at the festival last year, and felt horribly, infinitely alone. Why wouldn’t I rather stay home and watch movies with my daughter?
When I participated in a survivors of suicide grief group a few years ago, the facilitator told us that we should give ourselves permission to experience grief in whatever form it takes, and that it will shift over time. Mine is in this weird nothingness right now that makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.
As I’ve said many times before, grief is not linear.
Honoring Michael Paul Zinnen, 1972-2009; Paul Norbert Zinnen, 1942-2010; and Lyda Marguerite Zinnen, 1952-2012.
Many blessings to you and to those you have lost.