About a week ago I finished reading Helen Macdonald’s “H is for Hawk,” a book ostensibly about falconry, but actually about grief and how it takes time and human contact to overcome it.
Days after I read the passage above, which to me is the book’s crescendo despite the almost 150 unnecessary pages that follow, I received the most meaningful email of my life. It was sent by the sister of one of my closest childhood friends, a friend who died by suicide ten years ago. I’d sent her a poem I had written about her brother, and her response echoed the passage above. Loss turns to love, compassion, knowledge, growth, gratitude. It takes a long time, she said, but it does.
Loss, I feel, takes on many forms, many volumes. Sometimes it can be small, yet significant. Other times it is monstrous. The pain of the moment, though, remains the pain of the moment. And these moments accumulate in limiting ways.
Via time, it is possible to heal, to live with closed wound. But to release the cellular memory of hurt it takes, I believe, operative prayer. Not necessarily bent-knee church prayer, but more so a diligent exploration of personal Grace, of the Holy within, which inevitably communes with the Holy without.