A close friend of mine recently found herself in the midst of two unexpected deaths; she used the word “haunting” to describe the experience.  When death touches your life in an obtuse or painfully direct manner it has a tendency to stun, shock us.  But to feel as though death is hunting or haunting the people you care about is, at the very least, disconcerting.

Didion Year of Magical Thinking

The is the first book that comes to mind whenever I hear the word grief.  It is such a painfully honest account of one woman coming to terms with her husband’s unexpected death.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from that book:

“This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.”

“I did not need to look, nor could I avoid him by looking. I already knew him by heart.”

“I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead.

Let them become the photograph on the table.

Let them become the name on the trust accounts..

Let go of them in the water.”

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