A letter to the grieving
Updated: Jul 18, 2018
My dear sweet friend (you) (future you) (everyone),
I feel helpless. Gutted. No phone conversation or in person exchange could ever, ever, get to the root of how I know you must feel. So here I am, crushed and annihilated and heartbroken at your loss and holy shit I wish I could lift it or hold it or throw it into oblivion like some mythological character with superhuman powers, and whoooooosh there it goes, off into space where you never have to see it or feel it again.
I’m sorry for the wave of nauseating social media that is going to cripple you in the next few weeks, and for the vapid emojis and hollow one-liners and patronizing RIP’s that are well-intentioned but fall so vastly short of conveying the truth of the matter, which is that life has stopped and you are swallowed whole. No breath, no light, no air, no reprieve.
I had a few delusions in my own dark moments, that I could ball up my pain all neat and tidy like Westerners do, with coffins and burying and funerals and forgetting. You know — dispose of it for good so I didn’t have to see how ugly it was.
But that’s not how this works and if I were sitting next to you right now, I’d be holding your hand and you could feel my heartbeat and heartbreak for all that lies ahead. Contrary to popular belief and a culture that perpetuates numbness (please feel my hand tighten and my love enter into you when I tell you) — you can’t move this or shake it or drink it or chase it or throw it or bury it in some place where you aren’t. The only way out is through but I’ll be here the whole way.
The whole way.
Please stay broken open. Stay more alive and awake and aware and tender in the face of this tremendous, beyond-ability-to-comprehend loss.
I believe in you.
I believe in your dignity.
I believe that you’re going to have an exciting, bittersweet, long joyful life and anyone who's permitted to witness to you navigating this chapter will feel honored and humbled and astonished and thankful for having observed such vast grace embodied.