I am terrified of grief. Mine and everyone else's. When let loose it's a seemingly uncontrollable, unending force. Either experienced or witnessed, it makes my emotional self become completely rigid – adept neither at accepting comfort nor giving it.

When it's other people's grief, I turn distant and uncomfortable. When it's my own and I can see it coming, I simply turn away. I only hope there's an afterlife so I can apologize to all the friends and family I "couldn't" visit in the hospital.

When it's my own and it hits me I turn cavalier and cold and quiet, or resort to jokes – usually the kind that only emergency room nurses find amusing. When it gets out, I'm just deeply embarrassed: the person who would rather risk another burst blood vessel in her eye – not to mention the bewilderment and occasional scorn of more "traditional" mourners – than be seen crying at a friend's funeral.