Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote:
“Grief does not obey your plans, or your wishes. Grief will do whatever it wants to you, whenever it wants to. In that regard, Grief has a lot in common with Love.”
I like this take on grief or trauma or whatever you want to call it.
Like love, trauma swells into an entire inner universe that comes to color the whole of the outside world. Like love, grief lives itself through the grieving and can’t but speak its truth.
But unlike love, our culture meets the voice of trauma with an alloy of disquiet and denial.
We want to make the sadness go away, to lift the sorrowing heart out of its sorrow immediately. Often, we mistake for personal failure our inability to salve another’s grief or mistake for their failure the inability to snap out of it on the timeline of our wishes.
I have waded through oceans of pain with its lapping waves of grief.
It is impossible to get through a life — through half a life, even — without living through the two most universal human experiences: love and loss, each presupposing the other, each haunted either by the specter of the other or by its ever-present prospect.
To love is to live always with the possibility of loss; to sorrow with loss is to have loved.
Love and loss. Opposing forces but connecting and moving through us and each other.