Now, What is Griefing?

I know. I don’t know, either. This new word has been haunting me these last couple of months since my father died. And then our third round of IVF didn’t work out. Which was our last hope after five miscarriages. I mean, it’s almost funny? Except that it’s too terrible? Whoops, these aren’t questions?

Grief, grieving, mourning. I’m sick of those.

The word “griefing” already exists, I found out today. It has to do with undermining your teammate or other players in video games or on Minecraft. In Minecraft? I tried to look deeper into it, but there were several terms, like chat spamming and mob spawning that made me uncomfortable and very not interested in looking more. I don’t know that world. That’s okay with me. Their griefing is just different, and that’s just fine.

I intend here to add another definition. Griefing, as I experience it, is trying to walk through the world when you feel like you are coming apart. Griefing is not knowing how to answer the chit chat question “how are you?” to the point where you maybe say no to all fun things. It’s eating a donut with ice cream on it and adding peanut butter for fun, taking a walk to stop crying, crying on that walk, not fitting into your clothes, not getting work, spending whole days in Pasadena. Griefing is trying to do improv shows when you don’t know why you exist, fighting for little family heirlooms when you have no offspring to pass them on to. Joining a basketball team and finding out that everyone on it is fifteen years younger than you are and getting pushed down in a game in front of your mother who flew in from North Carolina to visit by someone on a team with the words “Funny or Die” written on her jersey.

Griefing is what I have been doing for three years now. I think I’m almost done. That’s right, positive stuff! I’m pretty sure I will never be sad again or have setbacks, so that’s great!!!!!!!! My mom will live forever and my sister, my husband and his parents and we will all be um very happy I don’t know I didn’t think this through, never mind.

“Grief is a process,” they say.

Well, so is making mayonnaise, graphing an equation and learning to skydive. The fact that it’s a process is supposed to be a comfort to me, but what’s not comforting is that I have to create this process for myself. If I don’t, I’ll slide back to the natural one I already have which is: withdraw, watch Law and Order SVU, play Yahtzee alone, (analog, don’t be absurd), and occasionally put on too much makeup so my husband thinks I’m okay. (He is not fooled by my tricks).

Last month I even stopped eating sugar and started taking strenuous hikes. Guess what? Still griefing. Also, very angry around cake. (Walnuts are not treats). And too tan.

So here goes. This process will be the anti-withdrawing. I will tell these ridiculously sad stories about announcing to our whole family at twelve weeks that we were having a baby the night before my first miscarriage, about how my sister and I had to clean up my father’s house’s hoarding to make room for the hospice bed delivery and how I ended up consoling our IVF nurse after our final bad news, instead of the other way around.

Because if I don’t, I don’t know what. There are too many stories now and it’s piling up. Take these or leave these. I hope they will be in some way helpful or at the very least entertaining. Or even better, maybe they can make you feel superior about your life.

Be nice, everybody.

Why is this turning into a letter.


Jean Leigh Villepique

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