Damn. Berkeley Breathed is ending Opus. I have a personal connection to the penguin from Bloom County. I remember seeing him speak during college. I read every Bloom County strip. I bought the books. I have two stuffed Opus, er, figures. One I gave to SOF. I won't read the last strip. I can't. I won't.
I think I do grief badly. Perhaps you need no more proof than the fact that I teared up hearing that Opus would be no more. If I grieve an imaginary penguin, what do you think I do with losing people or animals close to me?
This day has been sad and melancholy. I am prone to that. I know it. The weather grows a little cooler; the days a little shorter; and my mood darkens. I have felt that today with an intensity that I don't enjoy, but have become familiar with. Don't get me wrong. It is not clinical. I am not stopped from doing my work, or connecting to SOF or my friends. I am not bedridden.
I am just sad.
Listening to the interview on NPR on the way home from the store, I found myself tearing up. Discussing his new children's book, Breathed said that he wants children to know that sometimes adults are sad for a good reason, but sometimes "their heart closes down" and they are closed to new experiences and new relationships.
I understand that. I haven't done that, but I understand that. There are times I am jealous of those who seem to be able to box their emotions into some inaccessible space and forge ahead. I have never been one of those people. I really don't think it is healthy. But sometimes it seems like it would make life a little easier. After losing a very sweet dog last year, I feared I would harden. She represented so much for me about what was good--that losing her was harder than it, perhaps, should have been. But her loss was connected to so many other losses--friendships, relationships, dreams, etc.
I have no pithy answers to my own grief. I know that I have pledged to not close down my heart nor lock myself away from other people. And I hope to keep that pledge and make myself available and vulnerable to those around me.
But for me, Opus will live on forever in a world where irreverent humor meets childhood innocence. If that is denial, then it is the one I am willing to live with.