It’s very shocking, I think, for people caring for the dying to realize how unsaintly they feel, how much anger is mixed up with their grief. In fact, often I think the anger that they feel is a form of grief; it’s a kind of raging against what’s happening.
Grief is a bad moon, a sleeper wave. It’s like having an inner combatant, a saboteur who, at the slightest change in the sunlight, or at the first notes of a jingle for a dog food commercial, will flick the memory switch, bringing tears to your eyes.
My experience, with both my parents, is that grief has a lot of down, sad things, but I was also really emotionally raw, in the first year after each of them passed. Flowers smelled more intensely, my relationships were hotter, and I was more willing to risk. I was going for it a lot more. I was ‘unsober’ and I wasn’t playing by my rules.