Grief is described as the deep sorrow you experience by someone’s death. I’ve managed to wade my feet in the shallows and sometimes even kept my head below the sand when faced with tragic losses of life. Now in my forties, the grief tsunami has hit.
Maybe these emerging feelings are here because I have reached the halfway point of my life, and now I'm keenly aware of the absence of many loved ones and friends that left this earth along my journey. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned that grief never truly dissipates. The aching sadness ebbs and flows rises and falls. The missing never ceases.
If misery loves company, then grief may love community. I remember learning the poem For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne in high school after the deaths of my friends. The poem taught me that loss is universal and familiar to everyone, even if not spoken out loud.
Despite excruciatingly painful goodbyes, there is comfort in knowing humanity- all of humanity has heard or have rung that bell. It’s within that refrain we are one. Grief is part of our collective consciousness, and that knowingness anchors me.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Donne 1624
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
To all of those that graced my life with theirs.