Grief Squirrels

22 Aug

To me, grief is like an animal. Like someone has handed you a small creature – say, a squirrel – and said, “Here you go, carry this around with you at all times. You’re responsible for taking care of it.” Some days, the squirrel is so well behaved, you almost forget it’s there. Other days, the squirrel demands so much attention that you’re forced to carry it in your arms as it slowly gets heavier and heavier. And some days, when you think you’ve finally gotten a handle on this squirrel, and you may be ready to give it back, it suddenly, out of nowhere, goes completely batshit and bites you.

And some days, when you’re carrying the squirrel and it seems really really heavy, like it’s been eating nuts of cement, you start thinking about all the other squirrels you’ve carried. And then, even if it’s been months or years since you’ve carried them, they jump out of the trees and demand to be carried again.

This is why sometimes I seem like a crazy person and cry in public. I think I’ve gotten all my squirrels under control, but someone says something, a certain song comes on the radio, or I see someone who looks exactly like my father in law. I’m not crying because I’m crazy, I’m crying because a grief squirrel has just bitten me, extra hard.

These stupid grief squirrels bite at some really inappropriate times, too. After my father in law died, I took a few weeks away from my regular exercise class. The first day I went back, I thought the squirrels were firmly under control. You know what song they played during the stretching portion of class? “Fix You,” by Coldplay. You know, the song Chris Martin wrote for his wife when her father died. Don’t mind the person sobbing in the corner, exercise class. She’s just been bitten by a nasty grief squirrel.

Today I cried on the train ride home. The people around me didn’t seem to notice, thankfully. But today was just a day where the grief squirrel had eaten too many cement nuts. The sucker just felt so darn heavy.
And, of course, it made me think of the other grief squirrels I’ve carried in my life, which just made him get heavier and heavier.

I wasn’t expecting this. I figured I would move on and get over things more quickly than this. I was not expecting the grief squirrel to need to be carried this long.

I am contemplating making some changes in my life that will hopefully make things easier. Until then, if you have any squirrel management tips, let me know.


dogs are great squirrel hunters, btw.

2 Responses to “Grief Squirrels”

  1. Vicki August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Well, I’ve always known I was nuts. I guess that’s why I attract so many squirrels! 😉


  1. Grief Squirrels: Squirrels of Raaaaage. Also, Mother’s Day. | even my gps is lost - May 10, 2013

    […] all the grief I’ve been trying to process, and how it feels like I’m carrying around a squirrel that will suddenly leap up and bite me. It’s been about 8 months, and I’m still trying […]

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