It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.
There are no books that will do it for us and there are no magic “right” words to say. It’s the trying, the sharing and the caring – the wanting to help and the willingness to listen – that says “I care about you.” When we know that we do care about each other, then, together, we can talk about even the most difficult things and cope with even the most difficult times.” (On helping children with grief).
…nor can we know ahead of the fact the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaningless itself.
She put her head in her hands and began to cry softly. He felt confused and bitterly unhappy. A part of him wanted to go to her, to hold and comfort her, but he wasn’t prepared to be pushed away in cold anger all over again. He waited in his chair and felt the room expand until there was an emptiness the size of the desert between them.
Bridge-players tell me that there must be some money on the game ‘or else people won’t take it seriously’. Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world.
‘I think that’s why his asking me to pull the plug hurt so much. He kept saying if I really loved him, I should have been able to do it. And I thought, if he really loved me, he would never have asked.’
A grief travels with us as far as we carry it.
There is nothing to fear. Nothing to worry about. Grieve nothing in this transitory world,” he says softly.
I think of the chimp, the one with the talking hands.
In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign her newborn.
Baby, drink milk.
Baby, play ball.
And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug, Baby come hug, fluent now in the language of grief.
The only thing grief has taught me is to know how shallow it is.