Witnessing Grief Is A Gift

A number of people were concerned about my emotional reaction to grieving families. I was one of those people. I cry when Little Foot confuses his shadow for his mother in Land Before Time AND when the Terminator’s thumbs-up disappears in a pool of lava.

But the tears of mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters have been an important baptism. Seeing people openly mourn is like watching love up close.

It’s everywhere in funeral work. It’s the hand that strokes a closed casket as delicately as a child’s cheek. It’s the daughter wordlessly leaning into her father as his voice trembles. It’s the way an unlikely song like “House of the Rising Sun” can make an entire room sob.

When you see the gasping underbelly of love, when you watch a grown woman throw herself over her unbreathing mother, whispering I’m so glad you’re not hurting anymore, but how do I do this without you? You peel back a cosmic curtain that can never again close.

Grief is heavy, of course. But there’s nothing like it to behold.