woman with big curly hair, large orange sunglasses, purple lipstick and t-shirt stands outside

what grief has taught me about living

Grief, for me, is indelibly joined with memories of my mother. As such, because I loved her very deeply and sometimes, secretly, it’s both mourning, and a celebration.

Grief has taught me that it must be experienced both individually, and collectively. It’s a paradox. Holding onto it can be malignant – yet once I embraced it, and shared it with others, it took up permanent residence in my life. This can be redeeming, and treacherous.

It’s easy to get lost in grief. To become immobilized by it. It might invite profound anger, or sadness that can’t ever be overcome.

Since I have begun to grieve, I have learned to pay attention to my breath to make sure I’m not holding it.

Grief has taught me to listen deeply to my Grandmothers in those spaces in-between breaths. Since I have begun to listen, I have tried to love more openly, and with greater vulnerability.

I keep my eyes peeled on grief, to make sure it doesn’t trick me again, making bitterness and regret.

I have learned that grief can be held in community. Indeed, in these times of widespread and virulent hatred, holding grief together is one of the ways we can take it back from tragedy; use it to refuse violence, and to recognize each other.

– Charlotte, word sylph, creative, reclaiming deathwork, raising a kind human, sometimes aspiring to vegetarianism >>> learn more