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Grief's Children

Over three years ago, I was diagnosed with and then had a hysterectomy due to cervical cancer. Despite my ongoing issues with gender, discomfort with my biology, and complete lack of desire to bear and rear children, the removal of my uterus was not received with joy and confetti.

I grieved.

Katie

The shape of that grief was hard to describe. It was less about the loss of the specific possibility of children than it was about the finality of the loss of that possibility. It was the loss of what autonomy I felt I had over the body I could barely control to begin with. It was about feeling betrayed.

This grief was something I could hardly bare to acknowledge, so I allowed it to pull me away from the people I knew who reminded me of my losses. I felt selfish and ashamed at my inability to separate my own pain from the joys of others, but there it was, an open wound flowering wider. I turned down invitations to go out with people who had children. I avoided their homes. I pulled away from biologically intact female friends.

Grief is a mercurial object, defining its own edges in the periphery where you couldn't trace them if you tried.

I ended up losing more than my uterus and a sense of security. I lost depth in friendships. I pushed newer friends away. I missed out on getting to know the family a dear friend was creating. I made some people feel like they mattered far less to me than they really did.

I realized recently that I continue to do this as a matter of course. The behaviours born from grief have become knee-jerk.

It may come off like little more than an ill-defined shadow these days, but my grief continues to breed losses like there aren't enough to go around, and I'm putting a stop to it.

What grief takes, we can put back, if a little differently, a little more thoughtfully, placed.
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