Grief does not seem to me to be a choice. Whether or not you think grief has value, you will lose what matters to you. The world will break your heart. So I think we'd better look at what grief might offer us. It's like what Rilke says about self-doubt: it is not going to go away, and therefore you need to think about how it might become your ally.
All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But, what I've discovered is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place, and that only grieving can heal grief. The passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it.
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.
Philip K. Dick
Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost. We think we want to avoid the grief, but really it is the pain of the loss we want to avoid. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.
To fuel yet another war this time against Iraq by cynically manipulating people's grief, by packaging it for TV specials sponsored by corporations selling detergent and running shoes, is to cheapen and devalue grief, to drain it of meaning. What we are seeing now is a vulgar display of the business of grief, the commerce of grief, the pillaging of even the most private human feelings for political purpose. It is a terrible, violent thing for a State to do to its people.
One of the difficulties with grief research is that it risks making certain kinds of grief seem normal and others abnormal - and of course having a sense of the contours of grief is, I think, truly useful, one has to remember it's not a science, it's an individual reckoning, which science is just trying to help us describe.
The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I've always liked that phrase 'He was visited by grief, ' because that's really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It's not like it's in me and I'm going to deal with it. It's a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.
Grief is neither a disorder nor a healing process; it is a sign of health itself, a whole and natural gesture of love. Nor must we see grief as a step toward something better. No matter how much it hurts-and it may be the greatest pain in life-grief can be an end in itself, a pure expression of love.
We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean's bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections... Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.
Grief is accepting the reality of what is. That is grief's job and purpose-to allow us to come to terms with the way things really are, so that we can move on. Grief is a gift of God. Without it, we would all be condemned to a life of continually denying reality, arguing or protesting against reality, and never growing from the realities we experience.
The past cannot be redeamed. What has been and what might have been both bring us to what is. To know grief, we must be in the river of time, because grief thrives in the present and promises to be with us in the future until the end point. Only time conquers time and its burdens. There is no grief before or after time, which is all the consolation we should need.
My father was dead, my mother was dead, I would need for a while to watch for mines, but I would still get up in the morning and send out the laundry. I would still plan a menu for Easter lunch. I would still remember to renew my passport. Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.
I began to know my story then. Like everybody's, it was going to be the story of living in the absence of the dead. What is the thread that holds it all together? Grief, I thought for a while. And grief is there sure enough, just about all the way through. From the time I was a girl I have never been far from it. But grief is not a force and has no power to hold. You only bear it. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.
Besides, those whose suffering is due to love are, as we say of certain invalids, their own physicians. As consolation can come to them only from the person who is the cause of their grief, and as their grief is an emanation from that person, it is there, in their grief itself, that they must in the end find a remedy: which it will disclose to them at a given moment, for as long as they turn it over in their minds this grief will continue to show them fresh aspects of the loved, the regretted creature, at one moment so intensely hateful that one has no longer the slightest desire to see her, since before finding enjoyment in her company one would have first to make her suffer, at another so pleasant that the pleasantness in which one has invested her one adds to her own stock of good qualities and finds in it a fresh reason for hope.
Whether we experience it or not, grief accompanies all the major changes in our lives. When we realize that we have grieved before and recovered, we see that we may recover this time as well. It is more natural to recover than to halt in the tracks of grief forever. Our expectations, willingness and beliefs are all essential to our recovery from grief. It is right to expect to recover, no matter how great the loss. Recovery is the normal way .
You can not die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking. Grief dims with time. It is the way of things. There comes a day when you smile again, and you feel like a traitor. How dare I feel happy. How dare I be glad in a world where my father is no more. And then you cry fresh tears, because you do not miss him as much as you once did, and giving up your grief is another kind of death.
Laurell K. Hamilton
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.
New grief, when it came, you could feel filling the air. It took up all the room there was. The place itself, the whole place, became a reminder of the absence of the hurt or the dead or the missing one. I don't believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.
If we deny the grief its right in our lives, then we must question the love for which the grief is supposedly rooted. God's grief is founded in His love for Himself and His love for us. Looking at God as our model is healthy. Facing the pain means honoring those with whom our love is rooted.
W. Scott Lineberry
grief is a house where the chairs have forgotten how to hold us the mirrors how to reflect us the walls how to contain us grief is a house that disappears each time someone knocks at the door or rings the bell a house that blows into the air at the slightest gust that buries itself deep in the ground while everyone is sleeping grief is a house where no one can protect you where the younger sister will grow older than the older one where the doors no longer let you in or out
grief is a house where the chairs have forgotten how to hold us the mirrors how to reflect us the walls how to contain us grief is a house that disappears each time someone knocks at the door or rings the bell a house that blows into the air at the slightest gust that buries itself deep in the ground while everyone is sleeping grief is a house where no on can protect you where the younger sister will grow older than the older one where the doors no longer let you in or out
"Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us."
He didn't know of course. Not really. And yet that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight, and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. "I know," he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way, he did.
to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you've held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs; when grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief, you think, How can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you I will love you, again.
Grief reunites you with what you've lost. It's a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that's going away. You follow it a far as you can go. But finally, the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him. And you can accept that. What the hell choice is there? You cry, you continue to cry, because you don't ever completely come back from where you went with him - a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A cut that never heals. And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can't feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You'll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.
Philip K. Dick
Eby knew all too well that there was a fine line when it came to grief. If you ignore it, it goes away, but then it always comes back when you least expect it. If you let it stay, if you make a place for it in your life, it gets too comfortable and it never leaves. It was best to treat grief like a guest. You acknowledge it, you cater to it, then you send it on its way.
Sarah Addison Allen
Emulation is grief arising from seeing one's self, exceeded or excelled by his concurrent, together with hope to equal or exceed him in time to come, by his own ability. But envy is the same grief joined with pleasure conceived in the imagination of some ill-fortune that may befall him.
When we share in each other's grief and pain, we lighten it. Or maybe we just give each other permission to feel it fully and, through that act of acceptance, the grief becomes more bearable. Because, like the rain, tears too have an end. And with deep emotions, we are open to each other in unexpected ways.
I think everyone understands grief, the journey it takes us on, whether it's the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a disappointment. Some people don't deal with it, the power of it. Some do. Some feel the weight of it and it informs their choices. I've had to open up to grief in different contexts.
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.
Gregory David Roberts
The sunlight now lay over the valley perfectly still. I went over to the graveyard beside the church and found them under the old cedars... I am finding it a little hard to say that I felt them resting there, but I did. I felt their completeness as whatever they had been in the world. I knew I had come there out of kindness, theirs and mine. The grief that came to me then was nothing like the grief I had felt for myself alone... This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. In a strange way it added to me what I had lost. I saw that, for me, this country would always be populated with presences and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, and of the world that is to come.
I'm part of the tribe who have said goodbye to one parent and are feeling a sense of responsibility for the one who remains - in my case, my mother. How do I make her time smoother, happier? How do I try to ease her, a widow, away from the dark well of grief without dishonoring the necessity of that grief?
when she called to mind all this utter and crushing misery that had come upon my aunts' old music-master, she was moved to very real grief, and shuddered to think of that other grief, so different in its bitterness, which Mlle. Vinteuil must now be feeling, tinged with remorse at having virtually killed her father.
I lay down on the bed clasping the pictures and buried my face in the pillow in a vain attempt at silencing my sobs. But it was as if all my life's accumulated grief had finally found an outlet and was allowed to take its course. I screamed, I cried, until the grief became bearable. (174)
Sometimes grief is a comfort we grant ourselves because it's less terrifying than trying for joy. Nobody wants to admit it. We'd all declare we want to be happy, if we could. So why, then, is pain the one thing we most often hold on to? Why are slights and griefs the memories on which we choose to dwell? Is it because joy doesn't last but grief does?