Brief notes on grief

"Brief Notes on Grief" is a fictional narrative journey through death, loss, and the necessary road of grief. Originally featured in The Digital Issue Newsletter 2023.

by nina (andre)

8/18/20233 min read

“Where are you?” my cousin asked.

“Why, what happened?” I remember asking.

“Can I call you?”, she replied.

My soul left my body, I hugged my partner. I was so scared.

“I'll call you when I'm in a less noisy place", I replied.

When I got home, scared, I knelt on the floor and made the call.

“Hey”, was all I could say.

“Hey, how are you?” my cousin asked.

I tried to pretend a conversation. She stopped me.

“She left”, I remember hearing.

“When?”, I asked.

“Half after three o'clock, something like that”, she replied.

I yelled a shooting “No!”, as I could change it, and broke down crying. Vulnerable, defenseless.


Suddenly I am gasping for air, I am in shock most likely. I began to live in a blurred dimension of existence, it was as if my soul had disconnected from my body and did not want to return to it. Those had been the worst and most intermittent weeks of my life, one day my faith was indoctrinated, and made promises that perhaps wouldn’t keep. I went to church as if it were nothing new to me. I spoke to the priest thinking that he could intervene in that clouded space between life and death, wanting him to make use of his authority to speak to whatever God, I didn’t care.


Grief can be one of the most devastating experiences I ever had, heartbreaking, hopeless, and cruel. In a glimpse, I was left empty as if nothing could fill me up again. Occasionally thought my heart would crack. The pain wasn't only emotional, it felt physical. I stopped eating, and drinking water. Continuously sobbing in a fetal position, hidden, wanting to vanish. I didn’t want any kind of physical contact. The only thing that could tame said tumultuous pain was to hug her again. 

Summary of the event

It was a gloomy Saturday. I left the house to get away from the unsettling feeling I had been experiencing for the past few weeks. She had been in the ICU for some time, I was still grieving the sudden turn of events from a healthy person who was able to call me just a few days before. On the way home my partner and I rushed onto a busy train, and while hanging from one of the subway polls, I got a message.


Because anger and frustration took over me, the question of who deserved to die never left my brain, essentially, she didn't. As if we weren’t fragile mortals. I confirmed again that there was no one to pray to, she wasn’t religious, and I wasn’t either. Accepting life as it was, adamantly defiant and intensely obstinate, I asked for a day off from work, I only wanted to cry myself dissolved. When I returned to the office, it was horrifying to listen to the unnecessary “It was time for her to die… it will pass”. There was an almost uncontrollable need to tell everyone, out of self-pity or as a plea to avoid pain. Maybe I just wanted to share the pain with others like a sour cake that no one wants to bite but instead provokes diarrhea of condolences.


A few days later, I immediately started writing, it came out of nowhere, I wrote a chronicle. I am not fearless, and by then I was much less so. I don't mind saying it. She used to say “You have to fear the living and not the dead”. I don't care, I still can't watch horror movies. Fear keeps me alive in the most basic form of mammalian survival, it keeps me safe. There was nothing left unsaid between us, we used to talk a lot, but there’s always something extra we could say, right? We even said goodbye and hugged the last time we were together in real life, with tears in her eyes she asked me to stay. “Don’t go, stay. I’ll give you anything you need”, and I knew she could and would give me anything because she had already done it. My eyes get watery from remembering it, the emptiness left was filled with the fear of not being able to love again, that specific kind of mutual love, and I was right.xt here...

‘Brief notes on grief’ will be developed further throughout The Digital Issue newsletter.