“I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her” ~ Andrew Garfield.
Andrew said this when talking about his mother’s passing and it was the most gut wrenchingly beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Grief and death are some of those topics that we tiptoe around. We tiptoe around the people who have lost their loved ones because we don’t know what to say or do to make things better.
However, I think grief is something that should be talked about. We rarely talk about the love we want to express but can’t, because the person is not here to hear it. We rarely talk about how small reminders of the person can trigger a bucket of emotions that you didn’t know you had until then. We rarely talk about how we see their faces in crowds until we remember that it cannot be them.
Grief is the love we never got a chance to share. It is not something terrible to move on from, but it is something to keep close. Chimamanda Ngozi wrote in her book, Notes on Grief, that grief is a cruel kind of education. “You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolonces can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping of language.”
Grief is as much an affliction of the soul as it is of the body. Until one day you wake up and you can breathe a little easier, and move with a dull ache and an awareness that something is missing from your life. You learn to live and move with the world, while you have a permanent scattering in your soul.
At the end of the day, grief always comes down to, “What is grief if not love persevering?” The love we had for those we lost perseveres through our grief. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. Because as long as we mourn them, then they are never really gone. We try to hold on to their memories for as long as possible but at some point, we start forgetting the details. Like the way they walked, or the way their nose crinkled up when they laughed. But our love for them still perseveres.
“I finally understand why people get tattoos of those that they have lost. The need to proclaim not merely the loss but the love, the continuity… it is an act of resistance and refusal, grief telling you that it is over and your heart saying that it is not, grief trying to shrink your love to the past and your heart saying that it is present.” ~ Chimamanda Adichie, Notes on Grief.