September 19, 2019

Are We Conditioned to Grieve Wrong?

John Reid, 22

Over fifty million humans die each year, and for the most part that’s fine. We don’t mourn most of them. But it’s not always fine. Every so often, grief is attached to one of those deaths. Grief is what’s painful. Why?
Recently, I’ve sought to rationalise this with simplicity. If someone close dies, your perspective of reality is significantly changed. For others, that same death may alter their perspective only slightly. For most, that death will change their perspective not at all. This seems discriminatory. Even mourning the same person, no two people can grieve the same.
But that’s okay. A changed perspective is not a shrunken perspective. Things may appear differently, but the reality shared with the departed remains. Grief, like anything, adds to the lens. Recognising this, death makes the splendid things more visible. Maybe that’s obvious.
Each time this planet rotates, there’s just the right amount of oxygen for us to wish other primates good morning. Or for canines to sniff each other’s arses. One day they’ll die. And so will you. And so will I. It’s incredible. We’re probably the luckiest carbon in the universe, to have perspective at all.

Bob Morison, 2019Poetry