The Grief See-Saw Roundabout

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

6 October 2019

Writing Prompt from Megan Devine: What’s it like to experience that deep kind of connection or love, and then shift back again into pain?

I have in my mind’s eye one of those playground attractions
A blend of a see-saw and a roundabout
They actually do exist
I have been on at least one – probably not as a young child
But either as an adult child, or even a middle-aged child
I have long loved big swings and even some exciting slides

But I once fell off a roundabout when I was 6 years old
When living in Swansea, and broke my leg
(Fractured actually, but I understood the word “broken” better)
And I considered see-saws to be boring and static
But ones that swing around as they go up and down?
Much more fun

Until the sensation is no longer simply pure joy
Rising up and up and up
With an occasional bump back down to keep the
Excitement manageable
Instead it’s now just the occasional up
Out of a vast, all-encompassing sump

Grief – or lost love – wraps its arms around everything
Every emotion, every facet of life
Memories, former milestones, day-to-day living
Dreams and aspirations
So that even golden threads of joy
Can be hard to detect in the sticky, dark roughness

It feels overwhelming
Sickening, Vomit-making
The experience of being forever swirling
Spinning out of control of everything
Particularly one’s
Past, Present and Future

The moments of reprieve so very short-lived
Snatched treasures, some peace allowed
But just “on loan”
Nothing long enough to feel satisfying
A glimpse, a tantalising taste, a flash of memory
Of a former life lived more simply

About Emma Pearson

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