On Grief

Francesca Woodman

I’ve come to believe that you don’t heal from grief.  And you don’t get ‘over it’ either.  Instead you heal around it.  The body creates a safe place for it to live on inside.  A sort of encapsulated sanctuary where it doesn’t poison your day to day existance with sadness, but where it can just be a part of you.  I think it is an important touchstone for where we’ve been and all that has been lost.  And I think without the pain of loss somehow we wouldn’t fully realize the joy of the present.  We need the dark to show up the beauty of the light.

Sometimes, quite by surprise, I can feel the grief of losing Laura rise up.  It is like a shriek or howl at the moon.  It can be triggered by something as simple as a song. Recently I was invited to see Les Miserables on Broadway and my heart squeezed so tight at the song ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ that tears sprung into my eyes.  I still can’t hear it without crying.

‘There’s a pain that can’t be spoken.

There’s a pain goes on and on.

Empty chairs at empty tables.

Now my friends are dead and gone…

Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me.

That I live and you are gone.

There’s a pain that can’t be spoken.

There’s a pain goes on and on…’

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