Today I am grateful that the word Grief exists. I extend my gratitude to the family of words surrounding though not necessarily directly related to Grief – sorrow, wellaway, lackaday, lamentation, sadness, tribulation, keening, anguish, misery, dolorous, atrabilious, mourning, lugubrious, wayment, heartbreak, wretchedness, tristifical…the list trundles on.
My 17 year old dog died this afternoon and in place of her mischievous eyes, tongue lolling and good natured tail wagging is a great intrusive emptiness.
Grief is hideous, like a relentless monster that threatens to crush your breath with its infernal weight and punishing claws, seeking to snuff out any Joy remaining in your heart and mind. After a few hungry bites and lacerations from the Grief Monster, all Hope flees your body and hides in some far off place, trembling with fear. When a loss is still fresh but you’re all cried out, sometimes one’s consciousness escapes into an Asphodelian numbness so that Grief is momentarily confused and frozen, unable to continue its chase because the Fog of Numb is its temporary blindfold.
But when one’s loss recedes, even if just a little, I can then reflect that despite all this sorrow, I can be glad that the word Grief exists to describe what Grief is. Though of course words can be dissatisfactory and not robust enough to represent the gamut of human experience, I am nonetheless grateful because it means countless people before me recognised the importance of having such a word which in turn means they too experienced a devastating and irrevocable loss thus in the end, this reminds me that we can only experience Grief, if we also feel Love and if we feel Love, it means there was a chance that Care and Kindness was involved too…and this is enough to entice Hope to return to me.
These sentences are quite choppy and I am not pleased with my botched attempt at explaining my thoughts as each word had to be dragged out through a haze of exhausted sadness so rather than razor sharp clarity, I have disjointed ideas pushing and shoving each other before collapsing in a heap but all I really wanted to point out in a rather roundabout way is that words represent our collective memories and serve as a reminder that we are not always alone in our experiences. Language is the rich canvas we are forced to paint.
1. deep mental anguish or sorrow, as that arising from bereavement.
2. a source of deep mental anguish.
3. annoyance or frustration.
4. trouble or difficulty.
5. Archaic: a grievance.
Etymology: Middle English gref, grief < Anglo-French gref; see grieve - Middle English greven, grieven < Old French grever < Latin gravāre, “to burden”, derivative of gravis, “heavy”.