I don’t have the emotional energy to make my thoughts coherent, but I’ve been thinking all week about this article. There are many issues going on in the piece, but I wanted to share what struck me most. I continue to try to make sense of my grief–the empty feeling that I can physically feel when I think of my grandmother–and the truth is that I can’t even open my mouth to give it a voice yet.
I want to discuss it with my mom, but my voice cracks on the phone and I talk about something else. It is hard to tackle loss without my family around me. I only realized this a few days ago — how difficult it is to mourn alone. I think: it’s been over six months, move on, one foot in front of the other, but my mind (and grief) aren’t linear.
So I look to others and read their words and think, yes. Yes. That is how it is. That is what I’m feeling.
Key pieces from Cheryl Strayed’s “The Love of My Life“:
If, as a culture, we don’t bear witness to grief, the burden of loss is placed entirely upon the bereaved, while the rest of us avert our eyes and wait for those in mourning to stop being sad, to let go, to move on, to cheer up. And if they don’t — if they have loved too deeply, if they do wake each morning thinking, I cannot continue to live — well, then we pathologize their pain; we call their suffering a disease.
We do not help them: we tell them that they need to get help.
WHAT DOES IT mean to heal? To move on? To let go? Whatever it means, it is usually said and not done, and the people who talk about it the most have almost never had to do it.
Healing is a small and ordinary and very burnt thing. And it’s one thing and one thing only: it’s doing what you have to do.