On Grieving

I did not know @biz well at all, but I lost someone very close to me to suicide two years ago and when I finally worked up the courage to write about it, this community was overwhelmingly supportive of me. It breaks my heart to see you all grieve in this way now.
  1. I've mentioned it here a few times before, but "The Long Goodbye" by Meghan O'Rourke was immensely helpful to me both in understanding grief and in feeling understood.
    The following passages especially stood out, I hope they can be helpful to someone here:
  2. "The people we most love do become a physical part of us, ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created."
  3. "One of the grubby truths about loss is that you don't just mourn the dead person, you mourn the person you got to be when the lost one was alive. This loss might even be what affects you the most."
  4. "The disappearance of mourning rituals affects everyone, not just the mourner. One of the reasons many people are unsure about how to act around a loss is that they lack rules or meaningful conventions, and they fear making a mistake. Rituals used to help the community by giving everyone a sense of what to do or say. Now we're at sea...
    ... Such rituals aren't just about the individual; they are about the community."
  5. "If children learn through exposure to new experiences, mourners *un*learn through exposure to absence in new contexts. Grief requires acquainting yourself with the world again and again; each "first" causes a break that must be reset... And so you always feel suspense, a queer dread—you never know what occasion will break the loss freshly open."
  6. "Sometimes, loss seemed to have enlarged me; at other times, it shrank me to this position of wounded, baffled anger.”
  7. "Without death our lives would lose their shape... I love the world more because it is transient. One would think that living so proximately to the provisional world would ruin life, and at times it did make it hard. But at other times I experienced the world with less fear and more clarity. It didn't matter if I was in line for an extra 2 minutes,
    I could take in the sensations of color, sound, life. How strange that we should live on this planet and make cereal boxes, and shopping carts, and gum! We were ants in the sugar bowl, and one day the bowl would be empty."
  8. "It's not a question of getting over it or healing. No; it's a question of learning to live with this transformation. For the loss is transformative, in good ways and bad, a tangle of changes that cannot be threaded into the usual narrative spools. It is too central for that...
    It's not an emergence from a cocoon, but a tree growing around an obstruction."
  9. ❤️