It's now been a full two weeks since I received the news that my good friend Nathan had died.
So far I would take a bit of issue with the idea of the "stages" of grief, at least as I've heard of them. I definitely see that the early days of knowing of his death were characterized primarily by a refusal to admit, emotionally to myself, that he was gone.
These days I'm definitely very angry. However, my experience of the anger is in a sense an expression of denial. It is not that I feel angry at Nathan for dying, or even for taking his own life. I feel angry in the way that we used to feel angry together, an unfocused, juvenile dissatisfaction with the obvious cravenness and parsimony of the world and the people in it. I feel angry so that I can be close to the ferocious, passionate intensity that made it so hard for me to reach out to Nathan while he was alive, to drink it in one last time.
So I am angry with my kitchen for being messy, and at my family for expecting me to do my job and clean it up. I am angry with my parents for all the things they ever said to me that I didn't want to hear, and also for all the things that they didn't say to me that I needed to hear. I'm angry with my high school teachers for not understanding me. I'm angry at my high school crushes for not falling in love with me. I'm angry with my cats, the trees in my yard, my muddy lawn, my cracked driveway, and my ridiculous heap of a car.
I wish I could write all this on a card and tape it to my chest so that the people who cross me in minor, insignificant ways over the coming weeks will understand that yes, there IS a reason why this normally easygoing guy is looking like he might punch them for blocking his path in the produce section of the grocery store.
The reason is because when I stop being angry and go back to being myself, then Nathan will really be gone. And I'm not there yet.