I Hope This Grief Never Ends
In a November 2021 interview with Stephen Colbert about his part in Tick, Tick, Boom, Andrew Garfield shared his grief on the loss of his mother. He made some of the most honest, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching comments about grief and sharing a loved one’s legacy. I had never related to something so deeply about my grief as I did when I heard his remarks. He shared one of my favorite sentiments: “I hope this grief stays with me.”
It’s been a year since my Nana passed unexpectedly, but I still find myself coming to tears once in a while. I was on duty this Easter, and, as I was driving into the station, I suddenly realized I wouldn’t be calling her this year to say, “Happy Easter!” It struck me that she didn’t make us peanut butter eggs or send an Easter card. I could feel the tears start. Alone in my car at 4:30 a.m., I wasn’t going to hold them back.
The initial grief was the hardest. It was the worst pain my heart had ever felt. As the year has passed, the pain has become a dull ache. It hasn’t gone away. And maybe that’s okay.
Talking about his mother’s passing (the topic begins at 4:24), Andrew Garfield said, “grief is all the unexpressed love we have.” It’s all the love we don’t get to share with that person anymore. I loved my Nana more than I could ever express in words, so it only makes sense I still feel her loss—I have so much love left.
I still write to her sometimes. I keep a small, black, and mother-of-pearl notebook that I write notes to her in when there are certain things I want to say to her. Most of the time, though, I talk to her like I talk to God. Usually, I feel peace envelop me in those moments, and I know both of them are listening.
Sometimes, something happens at work that makes me feel like by helping this person, I’m helping my Nana. In those moments, when I make it back to my car, I smile and hear her voice: “good job, kiddo.”
My job is not one my Nana had imagined for me. Yet, she watched with pride from two states away as I completed and passed challenges—physically and mentally—in Academy. She was on the other end of the phone when I called, crying, after long days and multiple “smoke sessions.” She always encouraged me. She reminded me I had changed from the quiet, meek girl I had been before my divorce. She was proud of who I was becoming. Even if she wasn’t there in person, I know she was with me in spirit as I walked across that stage and took my oath of duty.
Every day, I get to be her legacy. I get to honor her. And that’s why, no matter how much it hurts, I hope this grief never goes away.