Widows call it a monster and it has a sneaky, surprising quality, especially after several years, post widowing. It rears its massive, ugly head suddenly, causing overwhelming sadness and a feeling that death just happened and no healing has taken place. I try to imagine what the Monster looks like, and see a large leer, something like a mastiff dog, with a lion's mane curling around its face. My grief monster is probably a line drawing, colorless, its teeth sharp and its tongue dripping. It has wings and a long tail, like the dragons wrapped around the edges of a medieval map of the world. It sneaks up over the edge of my waking life, curling its tail and breathing hot, fetid sorrow all around me, coloring my world dreary. The Grief Monster has a tendency to pop up at the turning of the seasons, or when the children leave to go back to their lives, or at 3:33 am. While it is no longer a constant companion, it has been hanging around a lot lately, taking a seat on the chair next to me, waiting for me to calm down so it can rile me up again.
The Grief Monster likes to create misinterpretations, to cause tears to fill my eyes when I am driving so I have to intuit the road rather than actually see it. The Grief Monster enjoys a good argument about nothing important, and likes to remind me that I am very small, completely alone and not particularly worthy, even though none of this is true. Except perhaps the small part.
I want to banish it to the nether realms, send it careening off the edge of the flat, dull world, burn it into oblivion so it will leave me alone. I want it to sit in a corner with my Inner Critic and have a slightly bitter cup of tea, discuss the price of goods in far off places and then take a long hike somewhere else. In fact, the two of them should get a place together, preferably in another time zone and only visit me when and if I invite them, instead of when I least expect it. I could conveniently delete their contact information from all inboxes and never see them again. Now, wouldn't that be nice.