Posted by: Dennis Larkin | April 7, 2012

“Grief is love’s unwillingness to let go.”

I’m watching a movie on Netflix called “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father“.

I haven’t even gotten to the end and was struck by this quote for the Grief Counselor, Dr. Rick Singleton, who appears in the film:

“Grief is love’s unwillingness to let go.”

It is comforting to me to think that it is the LOVE I feel for Desi that won’t allow me to let go of his memory.  I now know for sure, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that I will continue to grieve his loss until the day I die.

I rewound the movie and then paused it to see if I could find some more info regarding this quote.  I thought maybe it was a major philosophy behind what grief counselors use in their treatment.

What I did find were blog entries from other people who have also seen this movie and connected with this quote.  I particularly found what this one therapist, wrote in her blog to be so helpful in dealing with my own grief and dealing with others who are experiencing grief:

In a nutshell she says that there is no time frame on grief and the bottom line is that you just have to let the person who is grieving – grieve.

I have been so disappointed by my close friends and family who are not able to understand that simple concept.  I think that people are uncomfortable with displaying in public the depth of emotion that is involved with grief.  I am not.  For whatever reason, for the most part, I feel like I not only have every right to grieve for as long as I need to, but I also don’t really care what people think of me grieving in public.

I try to keep my head down the moment tears begin to fall but I do that mainly because what I am feeling is so incredibly personal.  I am not ashamed of feeling the grief at all.  I often do think of what other people might think about when they see my tears.  I think about what I myself might think about if I saw someone crying in public.  As long as nobody was hurting them in the moment I would just let them be.  If they were a friend or loved one I of course would ask what was going on.

Since Desi died, I often have flashbacks of my life with him up until his death.  It can be a flashback of him sitting in the passenger seat of my Mitsubushi in the garage waiting for me to come out of CVS in West Hollywood, or tying him up to a pole while I go in to Trader Joe’s, or just him laying there calmly chilling out with his little tongue protruding and drying out at the tip as he looks bored and adorable as ever.

Sometimes, even when he was alive, I would look at photos of him and think he looked like little schoolboy that just had his class picture taken.

Rescuing Brooklyn has been one of the greatest forms of healing some of the pain of the loss.  Brooklyn takes a bit of the sting out of the grief.  Walking him where I walked Desi, running into other dog owners and dogs that I used to run into when I walked Desi, jogging down by the Hudson where we had one of the best Saturdays in his last few weeks all have helped to alleviate some of the intense emotional pain that I’ve felt and continue to feel.

Out of nowhere, a wave a grief will wash over me and feel as if it’s going to pull me under.  I sometimes wonder if I can even go on another second.  The pain and loss is immense.  For sure I feel as if an ENORMOUS part of me died along with Desi.  I believe that is actually true.  There is a living part of me still here but there is also a dead part of me that I’m carrying around.  I’m not sure if that will ever completely go away.

I remember feeling a similar way when my Dad had his accident.  I told him it was as if we had all fallen off the stage with him back on December 21, 1995.  Indeed a part of me has been paralyzed since that day and I haven’t truly thawed out enough to move forward with my life in a way that doesn’t feel like a part of me is frozen.

There are many worse things that could happen to me in my life.  I was talking with a friend about a girl that was raped and got pregnant by the rapist.  It reminded me of the story of Jacey Duggard and how much she endured at the hands of her captors.  I’m not sure how people go on after so much evil has permeated their lives.  I’m not sure how she doesn’t look at her two children by that monster and not be reminded of him and what happened to her all those years.

Life is clearly not black and white.  There is still a lot I have to reconcile.  Still, as unhappy as much of the past was for me, it seems to continue to flash before my eyes and in my brain, as flickering images on a movie screen. I have always had that kind of a mental photographic memory I guess you could call it.

When I try to meditate I simply do not want to be in the present.  I though to myself today I must truly hate where I am to not want to be present and instead to linger on a past that was mostly a struggle for me.

I applaud the Grandparents of Zachary for all that they have endured and all that they have done to continue to keep the memory of their child and grandchild alive.

I hope there is something that I can do to leave a lasting imprint on the world as a tribute to the life I shared with Desi and all that he gave to me.

Below is the website for more info regarding the film and the reform movements that have occurred since this tragic story unfolded:


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