Girl Half Empty

//What an odd thing a diary is: the things you omit are more important than those you put in//
- Simone de Beauvoir
/June winner of the diary competition/

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26. //The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it//

5th August

You know how people insist on dying and when they do they never leave you instructions on how to deal with it and you wish somebody could just find some sort of drug or formula or antibiotic with a diagnosis and a prescription and an answer… and I wonder whether we’ll ever learn how to deal with dying and the answer is probably not.

It is too much to hope that I will know what to do with myself and how to gift-wrap my grief, how to package and sell and store my tears and how to structure the list of names I have to jump round like cracks in the pavement when my grandparents find themselves upon it. I will not know. Just as I did not know what degree of decency any amount of discussion and sympathy bubbles was required when we all found ourselves on the newspapers because of an old man stabbed via road rage. Just as I do not know now when the vicar lynched himself from a local tree and the church got too full of its confused crosshatch of too much and too little. Just as I do not know now when heads roll and bombs drop and people jump onto railway tracks, when planes fall and cars crash and boats cast aside their asylum seekers, when police shoot and knives stab and people starve and bodies crush and religions clash and policies collide and we all eat ourselves up with the darkness we don’t realise we are amassing.

Just as I will not know which tools to employ when my parents

//get to that stage of life//

That weary stage when they become as unwanted as the Texas-sized landfill we are building in the middle of the sea. They become cumbersome and nobody wants to hold them up even though they’re as withered as walnut shells and the newspaper I shove inside wet winter boots.

Even then, I will still not know how I am supposed to let people die.

I don’t think it can be a case of practice makes perfect because I tell you, trying to perform the approved level of bereft sure as hell doesn’t get easier. It gets harder. Because you realise that some bereavements leave vaster impressions than others depending on who left them behind and how many people make up the grains of sand that have been impressed upon.

//step around the cracks and don't look down//

I keep trying.

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