All love stories are tales of beginnings. When we talk about falling in love, we go to the beginning, to pinpoint the moment of freefall.
Our minds are mysterious; our conscious brain is like a ship on a sea that is obscure to us.
What’s endlessly complicated in thinking about women’s gymnastics is the way that vulnerability and power are threaded through the sport.
Television has never known what to do with grief, which resists narrative: the dramas of grief are largely internal – for the bereaved, it is a chaotic, intense, episodic period, but the chaos is by and large subterranean, and easily appears static to the friendly onlooker who has absorbed the fact of loss and moved on.
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.
I wasn’t prepared for the fact that grief is so unpredictable. It wasn’t just sadness, and it wasn’t linear. Somehow I’d thought that the first days would be the worst and then it would get steadily better – like getting over the flu. That’s not how it was.
But there is a discomfort that surrounds grief. It makes even the most well-intentioned people unsure of what to say. And so many of the freshly bereaved end up feeling even more alone.
Nothing prepared me for the loss of my mother. Even knowing that she would die did not prepare me.
It’s all too easy when talking about female gymnasts to fall into the trap of infantilizing them, spending more time worrying more about female vulnerability than we do celebrating female strength.
One word I had throughout the first year and a half of my mother’s death was ‘unmoored.’ I felt that I had no anchor, that I had no home in the world.