I went for a long walk on Sunday. I traveled through many villages. I came to the end of the land filled with things that had happened and were yet to be. Most souls don't travel here. It's a strange and scary place.
I saw something sitting on the side of the road. It looked like a purple blob. On it's top were two eyes and a mouth. It had strange fin-like appendages for arms. In one of them, it clenched a Kleenex.
Every few seconds it dabbed its eyes. Everyone said if you meet something in this land keep moving. But I couldn't leave a soul who was so sad.
I sat down next it and asked it what was wrong.
“Nothing,” he said “I am just a sad boy,” I told him that I was sure I could cheer him up. “Oh please, don't I'll lose my job,” I asked him how he could lose his job by being happy. “I'm Grief,” he said.
I was taken aback. “Are you the one who caused my friends so much pain and misery when a loved one passes?” I asked.
“Oh no, I couldn't manage all of that. I'm individual grief. When someone loses a loved one, I am sent to them.”
“Just to make them sad?” I was getting angry at him.
“I don't mean to make them sad; I just remind them of what they lost. And I go wherever they go. On a train, in the shower, at work, in bed, at Target, I am always with them and always whispering in their ear about who they lost.”
“Why don't you whisper in their ear about good things?”
“Are you daft dog? That's Happiness’ job. You don't want to cross Happiness. She's like a little girl perpetually attending her birthday party and has just been given a Frozen DVD. Unbearable. And if you cross her, it's like you took the DVD away. Have you ever taken a Frozen DVD from a child?” He shuddered.
I asked him why he didn't remind people how much they loved their lost angel and all the joy they shared.
“That's Love's job. I don't like Love, he's that friend who finds a new soul mate or has a kid, and fills up your timeline with hundreds of pictures until you just want to scream. But I will say this for Love. Without him, I wouldn't have a job.”
I could see there was no reasoning with Grief. I asked him how long he stayed with a person once he was assigned to them.
“All their life,” he said.“I'm a heavy-duty emotion. I'm not like Happiness or Sadness one of those fleeting emotions that come and goes. I'm in this for the duration. No one gets over me. At best they just get used to me whispering in their ear about what they've lost until I am just another burden chained to them that they have to drag through life.”
“Occasionally, after they have got used to me, I get through to them, and then whammo I'm back baby, they’re wracked with tears! A few times I get stuck with people grieving dumb things. I spent two years with a guy who was upset the Steelers lost. I felt like such a putz. He kept whining, ‘If only he hadn't missed the field goal, if only they had called that penalty.’ Pathetic. I wanted to say to him is ‘hey Sally grow a pair.’ But if I mess up this job, I'm going to get reassigned to Rage, or even worse Lust. Lust is one mixed up dude.”
Suddenly a page sounded. “That's me,” he said. “Oh God, I hope it's not some crazy football fan.”
Grief faded away like we all wish he would. I didn't tell him I hoped it was a football fan. Grief deserves to be miserable.