“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are evil”J.R.R. Tolkien – The Return of the King
I think everyone is saying how we’re living in such strange times right now. A lot has happened. A lot of change. A lot of unknowns. A lot of fear. And unfortunately, a lot of grief.
GRIEF : /ˈgrēf/ : noun
deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavementMerriam-Webster Dictionary
This thought, grief, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Have you experienced grief? For me, death has a way of hitting me deep. Deep to the point my heart hurts and my soul aches. If I can get nerdy on you, do you know Star Wars? Well, they have this whole connection where a Jedi can sense when another Jedi has died. It has a stumbling emotional effect on them because it hits them so deep. That’s the way it can be for me. I have such a strong appreciation of life and the significance and uniqueness of an individual that I grieve deeply when they’re gone.
What I’ve been thinking about though is I don’t think we see grief to be a positive thing. What I mean is that we tend to tie grief so closely to depression or we get uncomfortable at the thought of someone grieving that we don’t see it as a healthy thing. I mean I do understand that it can be very awkward and uncomfortable being around someone who is grieving, but I don’t think we are always supposed to know what to do or have just the right words. Sometimes, we just need to empathize and see that as being just the right thing. But that wasn’t my point. My point is that we hustle the process of grief or the uncomfortable side of us tries to ignore it. We put too much of an emphasis on moving on with life that we don’t let grief be the healing agent its supposed to be. I do realize that sometimes it can bring a person to the point of depression. But grief is not the same as depression so we should not treat it as such.
There’s a fiber artist on Instagram (@ashtonzagerfiberart) that I follow and she shared a while back with everyone that she lost her baby boy. It was amazing to see the community come together for her and her family but honestly, what I have appreciated most is her honesty and vulnerability through it all. She has expressed her sorrow, the ache for her arms to be filled by that sweet little body. She has expressed her anger, that the life she bore would die before the birthdays she was supposed to be able to plan and celebrate; that her child was gone before her. The timeline was all wrong. One of her posts was of a weaving done in all black and part of the caption was “It’s like he was my favorite song and I want to sing it again.” To me, this is the beautifully bittersweet process of grief; when the twinge of loss is still present yet the memories bring a warmth that doesn’t replace the missing part but rather soothes the ache.
You can’t replace what was once there but grief allows you to go through the process of feeling the depth of the loss and the anger at the unfairness of it all. Then, you can hopefully be able to experience the memories all over again and though they might still carry the reminder of what is no longer there, they can also still make you smile and help you move forward.
Have you ever seen Inside Out? As a psychology major and having studied A LOT on child and adolescent development, this is one of the BEST representations of how kids but people in general process things. If you haven’t seen it, consider this your spoiler alert. Remember at the end of the movie when Riley’s happy memories are held by Sadness and they turn blue? But then she has the half blue and half yellow?
Pain and sorrow can cut deep and can even cut us down. But given the chance, there can be beauty from pain. Given the chance, grief can bring healing.