the sounds we make – part two

There is a sociolinguistic theory that assigns primacy to those emotions  which have the most derrivative words, the thinking being that if we have so many words for it then it must be key to our understanding of our language and ourselves.

And then there is ‘grief’.

There is a strange language that we don’t use in everyday life that seems to be suddenly and pervasivly availible to you the moment that somebody dies, it is as though all the cliches and nightmares you’ve had of that moment are no longer spectres but real and unwakeable. The muttered “I keep thinking she’ll walk through the door” and “this feels like a dream” that you have seen so many times in bad films and worse novels is something that is suddenly so horribly true that you cannot help but apologize to an author you never liked because those really are the only words.

There are the same few words that we use time and time again for this moment, the same phrases, in books and newspapers, movies and poems that you think so old and  so overused – and they become not faulty literary devices, but an indication of the sheer and utter humanity that we all share when somebody dies. That we are so human that we can’t find any other words than the ones that we have always used, to tell the people we have always known, that there is nothing but grief.

There is much sadness here friends, my heart is heavy but I am ok. I wanted to thank all of you for your words that buoyed me and moved me forward through the dream and to the end where I may not have better words, but I do better understand those that we use.




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5 responses to “the sounds we make – part two

  1. p.

    When there are no words, there are hugs.
    Here’s one for you.


    love, p.

  2. The best description about losing a loved one that I’ve heard is from a Lemony Snicket book that has always stuck with me. I think it’s the best physical comparison to emotional loss that I’ve read because it’s so simple:

    “It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try to readjust the way you thought of things. The Baudelaire orphans were crying not only for their Uncle Monty, but for their own parents, and this dark and curious feeling of falling that accompanies every great loss.”

  3. That is just about perfect, because I think we’ve all missed a stair, so to speak. Thanks Kyla.

  4. beautifully put. thinking of you..

  5. One of my professors just passed away, and I feel exactly the same way about it—you keep thinking that you’ll come across him in the hall, he’ll ask you about how research is going…it’s really odd.

    Kyla is exactly right – the quote from Lemony Snicket says it all…it’s like your brain is searching for a step that really isn’t there—and you’re left trying to ask all sorts of logical questions about where it is and finally realizing that it’s gone. Something changed. And it will never be the same again. You’ll learn to recalibrate for that missing step, but you’re still left there in the dark, befuddled.

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