Here's the insidious thing about grief: it's like a parasite.
At the very beginning grief is wrapped up in fear. Whether you admit it or not, grief is already there, skulking and sneaking around the edges of the unspeakable fear that you struggle to keep at bay from the moment you hear someone you love is ill.
And only when the unspeakable happens and grief rushes over you like a tsunami do you dare admit that you have been entertaining it for ages: that a small part of you started grieving at the very beginning, that all along you were taking grief's measure and testing yourself against it in small bits, preparing yourself for the day (the inevitable day?) when you would be forced to face it head on.
And when that day comes, you wonder if maybe it was a good thing that the grief was always there, living in the fear. Perhaps that means that a fair bit of grieving is already behind you. The absence of fear is a such a great relief, you think perhaps, on its own, the grief won't be so bad after all.
But then the grief takes up residence elsewhere. It burrows into your day-to-day trials, but even more troubling, it finds a home in your happiness.
It whispers in your ear: "You can't possibly cope with this without her help," and then, even more menacingly, "This is a lovely moment you managed to create for your son: how she would have loved this."
I am sleeping more than I have ever slept in my life and yet I awaken every morning in a fog of exhaustion. I am struggling to cope with the major life changes Rob and I set in motion before Henny's death and I am, I fear, an attractive host for grief.
I have so many stories to tell, but unlike last year, when blackness also descended upon our house, I cannot seem to summon the energy to tell them.
I want to make you laugh by writing a series of posts about Rob and my antics at the 2003 Emmy Awards (did you know Rob was nominated for an Emmy?) I want to make you misty with the tale of my extended family's recent return to Ireland, where my people are from. I want to try and justify why Graham is STILL sleeping in his crib. (I KNOW! Please don't judge!)
But I can't.
I have always been proud of my ability to write my way through anything and yet right now I can't.
I fear my energy, my confidence and - oh how I fear! - my coping mechanism is slowly, but surely being eaten away by grief.