Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maybe this will make sense to you

Yesterday the Philadelphia theatre community lost one of our bright rising stars. He was very funny, very talented, very sweet, and touched the lives of very many people. Unfortunately for me, I didn't really know him - we would say hi to each other and, man, did I enjoy seeing him perform but we weren't friends.

Here's where grief gets sticky.

As the vaguebooking started yesterday morning, it was clear that our community had lost someone. It was hideously familiar to a morning two years when the vaguebooking ended with the news that our dear Mel was gone. Gchat and texting ensued, trying to put it together. How are the people who are the first to post their grief connected? Who worked with whom? Who are their close friends? And as the facts are still murky and it's unclear what has happened and to whom, the grief starts. Grief pulls a chair over next to yours and seems to have no plans for the day other than sitting there with you. You start to guess at who might be gone and start to mourn them. And then the pieces come together, the horrible news is disseminated, and sometimes it's the worst news in the world. Sometimes it is simply just terrible news. So Grief decides to hold your hand for a bit.

Here's where grief gets confusing.

The thing that has always sort of struck me about grief and mourning is how easy it is to get swirled around with other emotions - especially guilt. Guilt is the annoying little brother always tagging along saying "Me too! Take me too!" I've had experiences in mourning when I felt relieved...and then guilty. I've had experiences in mourning when I felt jealous...and then guilty. Right now I just sort of feel guilty for mourning at all - because I don't have stories to tell, insights to share, remembrances other than, "I loved him in that show." I tell my friends that everyone is entitled to their own grief, but I'm not sure I believe that for myself right now. It's confusing.

Here's where grief gets useful.

There is a short window of time around a grieving process when you realize how wonderful everyone you know is, you realize how good your life is, you realize how much you have. That is a tiny little moment, perhaps the most ephemeral moment of all. Soon it will be back to taking people for granted and nursing deep wounds that are in reality just papercuts. This is the Emily Webb moment and you've got to wrap your arms around this feeling of clarity and appreciation and hold on with all you have. It will be gone, no matter how hard you try not to let it go.

Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute? I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people.

The truly graceful people of the world are able to communicate their love and appreciation without hesitation at any moment they so experience that love and appreciation. May we all be filled with grace.


  1. Hey. I love you, Meg. Thanks for speaking with courage and heart.

  2. Thanks so much for this. Very meaningful.