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Love and Grief

December 13, 2011

I recently read an autobiography of Mark Twain which was published after he was gone, following his specific instructions.  In that book, I found his writing about the death of his beloved wife:

“Sunday evening, June 5, 1904—11:15 o’clock. She has been dead two hours.  It is impossible.  The words have no meaning.  But they are true; I know it, without realizing it.  She was my life, and she is gone; she was my riches, and I am a pauper.” (p.449)

Reading this, once again I realized that love is a universal language.  What Mark Twain expressed was how I felt when Don died.

Don was my life.  I am incomplete and poor without him.

It will be three years, come January 18th of 2012, since Don left me.  Many told me that grief would be less with the passage of time—that famous theory that time is a great healer.  I do not think time healed or lessened my grief for losing Don, my shoulder friend, my soul mate.

Time, however, helped me to deal with grief, to live with grief, the deepening grief.  Time leads me more and more about the source of my grief.  LOVE.

The more I feel the source of my grief, the more I can transform my grief into joy, living my life with courage and strength.  If joy turns into grief again, I can bounce back and know that life is both grief and joy.  During the first few months after Don’s passing, I could hardly walk to the subway station.  The sky spun around and I had to stand still not to fall down before I moved my feet again.  Now I can run to the train, up and down the subway steps, merging into the crowd.

Some might call it “healing.”  Maybe time helps to heal.  If so, I am glad.  But for me time does not lessen  my grief. It deepens it with more and more memories coming alive.

For me, it is love that helps me live with grief, not time.


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  1. This is beautiful and wise Daisil. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • PJ,
      Your kind comment gives me much comfort. It is a joy to have a friend like you who assures me that something I do is meaningful to you. Thanks and be well. Dai Sil

  2. You are a dear and beloved friend, Dai Sil, and this post makes me so proud, relieved, and happy for you. You’ve worked through so much and have come away with insights that are what give life richness and meaning. The wisdom was hard-won, but it is changing your life in innumerable positive ways: the way you look at people, the way you see yourself, and the way you view your life at large. I think this is the first time in years that I’ve read the word “joy” in any of your writings. Your resilience, vitality, and strength are formidable.

    • You say this is the first time you found “joy” in my writings. That intrigues me since I had much joy in my life with Don. Perhaps I have not used that word. Maybe I used the words like happiness, pleasure, etc. But it is true that these days I use joy instead of all other similiar words because I discovered that joy has special dimension is its meaning. I write about that a bit in my forthcoming book, Looking for Don: A Meditation.
      Yoona, You are also my bear adn beloved friend. I do hope you and I can share joy in the coming years.
      Dai Sil

  3. Oh, yes, I know you and Don shared so many moments of joy! Sorry, I meant to say I hadn’t read that word in many of your recent personal communications, which is all too understandable. But I think joy pervades your artistic work–it is the joy of feeling, particularly feeling deep compassion and then using that to make a significant cultural contribution. It is the exuberance and passion in life that comes from your irrepressible spirit.

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  1. Day 18: Grief | Haven't We Done This Before?

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