UGH. I'm reading another book about loss. I find myself drawn to frank and raw stories, where the authors discuss their experiences without bathing in false hope and creating recipes for "fixing it." My latest read, "The Mercy Papers" by Robin Romm is stark. After the first few chapters I almost gave up---too close, too painful, too much reality. I skipped to the afterword at the end of the book, looking for a reason to keep reading. I found it; she writes:
I returned to my place and continued to read "the violence of the actual event," as Romm describes her book. I gave myself permission, though, to skip and read through in a shallow manner when it becomes too hard for my tender heart to take. And with my new approach, I am still able to find many experiences that resonate with my own.
I wonder of this need I have to pour a cup of another's pain with my own. How is it that there is comfort in that? Perhaps it is that another's pain informs my own. I don't feel better that someone else suffers as I do, but I do learn from those who have suffered tragic loss and can articulate and describe and make meaning of it.
My approach to Caitlin's death was and is to allow it to be what it is, and to have the courage to feel the emotions it conjures in me to be felt. To express in words or images the meaning I find and to hug her life close to me until it becomes a physical, tangible part of me. I think, maybe, that's what Romm has accomplished with her book.