Some things cannot be fixed; they can only be carried. Grief like yours, love like yours, can only be carried.Survival in grief, even eventually building a new life alongside grief, comes with the willingness to bear witness, both to yourself and to the others who find themselves inside this life they didn’t see coming. Together, we create real hope for ourselves,and for one another. We need each other to survive.I wish this for you: to find the people you belong with, the ones who will see your pain, companion you, hold you close,even as the heavy lifting of grief is yours alone. As hard as they may seem to find at times, your community is out there. Lookfor them. Collect them. Knit them into a vast flotilla of light that can hold you.
Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can’t feel grief unless you’ve had love before it - grief is the final outcome of love, because it’s love lost. […] It’s the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again. Grief is the awareness that you will have to be alone, and there is nothing beyond that because being alone is the ultimate final destiny of each individual living creature. That’s what death is, the great loneliness.
Grief and rage--you need to contain that, to put a frame around it, where it can play itself out without you or your kin having to die. There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you--may cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn't that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy of you with your own life. Within it you watch [yourself] act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.
On April 18, 1906, when that earthquake hit San Francisco and took David from her, Vivien began to speak the language of grief. She understood that grief is not neat and orderly; it does not follow any rules. Time does not heal it. Rather, time insists on passing, and as it does, grief changes but does not go away. Sometimes she could actually visualize her grief. It was a wave, a tsunami that came unexpectedly and swept her away. She could see it, a wall of pain that had grabbed hold of her and pulled her under. Some days, she could reach the air and breathe in huge comforting gulps. Some days she barely broke the surface, and still, after all this time, some days it consumed her and she wondered if there was any way free of it.
We need to talk about the hierarchy of grief. You hear it all the time—no grief is worse than any other. I don’t think that’s one bit true. There is a hierarchy of grief. Divorce is not the same as the death of a partner. Death of a grandparent is notthe same as the death of a child. Losing your job is not the same as losing a limb.Here’s the thing: every loss is valid. And every loss is not the same. You can’t flatten the landscape of grief and say thateverything is equal. It isn’t.It’s easier to see when we take it out of the intensely personal: stubbing your toe hurts. It totally hurts. For a moment, the pain can be all-consuming. You might even hobble for a while. Having your foot ripped off by a passingfreight train hurts, too. Differently. The pain lasts longer. The injury needs recovery time, which may be uncertain or complicated. It affects and impacts your life moving forward. You can’t go back to the life you had before you became aone-footed person. No one would say these two injuries are exactly the same.
I know now what was happening to me, what was overwhelming me, what was about to consume and almost destroy me. Didier had even given me a name for it - assassin grief, he'd once called it: the kind of grief that lies in wait and attacks you from ambush, with no warning and no mercy. I know now that assassin grief can hide for years and then strike suddenly on the happiest day, without discernible reason or exegesis. But on that day, ... almost a year after Khader's death, I couldn't understand the dark and trembling mood that was moving in me, swelling to the sorrow I'd too long denied. I couldn't understand it, so i tried to fight it as a man fights pain or despair. But you can't bite down on assassin grief and will it away. The enemy stalks you, step for step, and knows your every move before you make it. The enemy is your own grieving heart and, when it strikes, it can't miss.
And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief. Except at my job--where the machine seems to run on much as usual--I loath the slightest effort. Not only writing but even reading a letter is too much.
The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside. There is pain in this world that you can't be cheered out of. You don't need solutions. You don't need to move on from your grief. You need someone to see your grief, to acknowledge it. You need someone to hold your hands while you stand there in blinking horror, staring at the hole that was your life. Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.
Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.
All grief, anyone's grief...is the weight of a sleeping child.