What To Do with Grief

Sometimes I wonder whether writing a book to deal with my father’s death and all the other loss I’ve experienced in the last year is the right thing to do.

Then I see this woman’s art as a response to her mother’s death and think: yes. Go look at all the other images she created to honor her mother. I wish I didn’t understand how she could have spent so much time and energy creating this other world but I do.

Thank you, all of you, who understand what this means in an ongoing way for me. As I said to a friend whose father died shortly after mine: it changes everything. I explained.

grief is overwhelming. i have found it has changed everything – the way i look at the world, what’s important to me, my commitment to my work, my sense of self.

i think death – esp of a parent – is a brush with mortality. & like all brushes with mortality, it makes the mundane things you do to get along in the world look like the bullshit it is. AND IT IS.

so for me it’s about figuring out how to live more deeply.

The weirdest part of it is knowing that all of the people around you are experiencing life on the same shallow plane you were on, or who distract themselves from their own bullshit with gossip or turf wars or with whatever.  I’ve recently been disappointed to hear a few things people decided to believe about me without actually asking me if they were true. And while I have moments of wanting to explain / defend myself, and have given in to that futile effort, I was exhausted in the process. But sometimes, yes, I still want to, despite the sadness, and then I think: it’s so not important. You can’t really change someone’s mind if s/he’s decided in advance that you’re a jerk, & no one of any quality would. I feel disappointed at not being given the benefit of the doubt, and then I go back to writing.

So yes, more art. More worlds where life and pain and loss are meaningful and intense and beautiful. More worlds like Kirsty Mitchell’s. Less pettiness, rivalry, or acting out of insecurity. More commitment to social justice. More passion, and more profundity, in every sense of the word.