There are moments where I feel guilty that I am not grieving enough. I will suddenly realize that I don’t feel the weight on my chest, that my eyes have been dry for an hour or two. I might compare my grief to others – a lost husband, an older child – these are unbearable losses I imagine. Mine I can somehow forget for a few minutes. My baby wasn’t even born yet.
I marvel at grief. The dead do not need our tears. They are safe, loved, held. They want us to live, to feel joy, to dance in the sun, in the rain or under the stars. Benjamin does not need me to mourn him. He knows he is loved.
We grieve because we are human. We grieve for what we miss of the past, for what, in the future, might have been. Often we suffer, when our minds get in the way, when we worry about what is expected of us. I don’t think we need to suffer. We just need to get out of our own way and truly, deeply, grieve. We need to talk about it, share it, find ways to help each other through it. We need ritual, ceremony. We need to allow grief to teach us, to hand us its rich gifts.
I think of all of us grieving at this moment, around the world. If we all allowed the waves to wash over us without fighting them, would we float to the top? If we listened to our hearts and said yes to the tears when they needed to come, yes to the ache, yes to the laughter, yes to letting go. If we stayed away from destructive habits and addictions, if we remained conscious through the process as much as possible, could our collective healing change the world?
If we allowed ourselves to mourn fully, completely, deeply when we needed it; if we found gratitude in the moments when the heaviness lifts, would we be so afraid of death? Would we live more joyful lives? I wonder. I have no answers, but I wonder.