My mother died of metastatic colorectal cancer shortly before three P.M. on Christmas Day of 2008. I don’t know the exact time of her death, because none of us thought to look at a clock for a while after she stopped breathing.
But when my mother died, I found that I did not believe that she was gone.
A death from a long illness is very different from a sudden death. It gives you time to say goodbye and time to adjust to the idea that the beloved will not be with you anymore.
Grief is characterized much more by waves of feeling that lessen and reoccur, it’s less like stages and more like different states of feeling.
I envy my Jewish friends the ritual of saying kaddish – a ritual that seems perfectly conceived, with its built-in support group and its ceremonious designation of time each day devoted to remembering the lost person.
Grief is at once a public and a private experience. One’s inner, inexpressible disruption cannot be fully realized in one’s public persona.
Loss is so paradoxical: It is at once enormous and tiny.
There is always tension in women’s gymnastics between athleticism, grace, performance, and eros.