(There is a link at the bottom of this blog for a song called ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ by Max Richter. I paraphrased that title for the title of this post, and it is a perfect background music to read this by.)
As most of you know, this blog started out years ago as a way to engage my radiation-fried brain with words again. I thought if I wrote about writing, stories would come to rest on my shoulder, would begin to whisper to me.
So I started a blog about writing and those early posts were self-conscious and stilted. When I relaxed, words relaxed. When I just chatted about day to day things, friends settled around and joined their words to mine. When I told funny stories about my life, people came closer. I never paid attention to numbers of ‘likes’ or numbers of followers as that wasn’t what the blog was about. I chose to pay extra to keep the blog free of ads because it also wasn’t about making money.
It was about me, rebuilding a loving and respectful relationship with stories and with anyone who wanted to tell me a story.
But then I was hit hard, slammed into broadside, by loss and it came out in posts about grief. I didn’t mean it to be that way; I was just writing what had to come out.
Those posts, for some reason, resonated with people to the point where I was getting almost two hundred emails a day.
Today, I’m thinking about a recent loss of a friend and how the family is hurting and how this damn virus doesn’t allow us to come together to grieve.
This newest loss also has me thinking about the nature of loss. What is it about sadness that so resonates with us? Why do more people respond to grieving than to laughter? Yes, we’ve all been touched by grief, but we have also been touched by laughter and kindness and caring.
And why is it that those things like caring, reaching out, feel-good-stories, bring tears to our eyes and feel like tiny pieces of grief?
Why do we laugh until we cry?
Why do I get teary watching the underdog come from behind?
Why do I feel teary sitting here writing about being teary?
Obviously I’m no psychiatrist. I don’t know anything about how all this works.
But I want to know why, sometimes, deep grief feels sacred.
I want to know why sadness and loss pull people together, bring strangers out to help each other, even more so than celebrations.
I want to know why those stories make us bend closer to reach out and touch, partake, share.
There’s got to be something deeper going on than the simple glib answers about loss making us realize what’s important, or showing us our own mortality.
There’s something ancient here, something maybe genetic, that makes grief so incredibly powerful.
I don’t understand, but when I feel it, or when I see it in others, I recognize it.
Whatever ‘it’ is.
And I feel part of it.