June 23, 2015

Speak to Us of Grief.


Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese artist, writer and philosopher wrote a book of 26 prose poetry essays in 1923 called The Prophet.

The style on his book was a commentary. The prophet in the book is asked to speak and give his truths to the village before he heads away to sea.

The villagers ask, “Speak to us of love? Speak to us of Freedom! Speak to us of Time? Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow!”

The book is a collection of his reflections on each question prosed by the people.

It is beautiful and tantalizing and powerful.

I have been grieving for 22 days the death of a friend, twin flame and partner.

I found myself writing a 20th century version of my pain one night.

If the world were to yell, “Speak to us of grief,” this would be my reply.


“Speak to us of grief!” they yell.

The night catches their words and freezes them.

The world falls silently to their knees.

“Grief…” she begins, then continues.

“Grief hits you in the heart as hard as love. A real love, a love that shows up and grabs your entire spirit and drags you over mountains and rivers into the abyss of time. Grief numbs you. It makes you wish you were not alive.

It will make you—for the first time in your life—look forward to the day you die, so you may hold hands—that are not ice cold and unmoving—with the man you love.

Grief leaves you lying on the ground all night. It steps over your pathetic body and tells you that this will last for all of time.

It will sit watching you as you wail, while a new crack in your heart breaks. It will be lying beside you when you wake up in the morning and for a second, forget that he is dead.

And then you do remember and you stare bleakly out the window, angry at the sunshine and bitter at the rain.

Grief is a labyrinth, a puzzle you cannot solve, a dream you cannot awaken from.

Grief tears your power from under your nose and leaves you lifeless and alone. It leaves you sitting at one in morning with a reel of memories. Grief is salty tears that may never stop falling.

When you don’t cry you will look up and hope no one’s watching.

Some days, you will resent the lack of tears; you will look into a mirror and see swollen eyes from a night of screaming and crying and see the death in your own body.

When we grieve, we are dying.

People occupy part of our souls, our hearts and our spirits. When they die, part of us dies with it.

Grief will disassociate you, make you stare at the outside world, as if you’re in a box.

With a puzzled face, you will look out at the people grocery shopping, laughing, arguing, loving and doing these things with complete disconnection.

For what?


Grief will tear away the moments of normality that creep in.

It will guilt you for the joy and the laughs that feel like china breaking as they exit your heart.

“Joy, that’s what you are,” your heart will whisper.

Grief weakens, softens and strengthens us.

It reminds us to touch this fragile world with our whole hearts.

It reminds us to live, after we have died a little first.”




What Nobody Tells Us About Grief.

Good Grief: A Sister’s Death & a Life Full of Making Meaning.




Author: Janne Robinson

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: via the author 

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