(Not) Writing Through Grief

It has been nearly half a year since my last post. I have largely been avoiding this website because to look at it would be to acknowledge how much has changed in just six months (and I don't mean that in an emo way, but in an actual grieving way). 

My last post was published on June 24th. One month later my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. My dad was an artist. He threw pots, painted, did glassblowing, welding, sand painting, and woodwork. He ran The Whole Gamut Studio along with my mother, who paints and draws. To say that I am devastated would be an understatement. I don't usually talk about my age on this site, but I am not even thirty. I do not feel prepared whatsoever to handle a death of this magnitude. All my life my family has been a small, close-knit trio: Dad, Mum, and me. It's a cliche, but I never realized how much my father was the glue that held the three of us together.

In my "writing life" I have always heard how writers "write through their grief." Joan Didion did it, Elizabeth Alexander did it, Cheryl Strayed did it. What I want to know is: how did they do it? How long did it take them to do it? I grew up in a house full of artists, where art was life. Now that my father, the first person to show me what art was, is gone I feel like the creative drive in me has died. I am in the middle of my last year of graduate school. I think my advisor and I can both see that my current essays and revisions are just barely limping by. I don't read anymore, I don't submit to journals anymore. I definitely don't write anymore. I just don't want to do anything.

I've always been told to write through pain, and that, when the time comes, to write through grief. "All great works of art come from pain." Someone told me something to that effect in the days after my father's death. Well here Grief is: barging through my door like a robber wielding a handgun, destroying everything I every cared about. How do I handle that? How do I write through something that isn't just sad, but feels violent, too? How do I overcome it?

I'd like to believe I'll write again someday. I know it's barely been six months and that I should give it time, but it's hard. My motivation, my energy, and my spirit in general just feel defeated. My father never took a break from his art. Up until the day he passed away he was sketching and glassblowing. I'd like to honor his memory and continue doing my art like he did and like he'd want me to, but it's hard. It is so damn hard.