George Tarr

The end of grief

The end of grief is an outburst. It comes after a time of silence – ‘I haven’t heard from that pain a while.’ Progress, they call it – that subdued ambling on; the scorned corners of your mind, nagging: ‘Are you only pretending?’ Then comes that mournful cry. It rages against the fate that now seems sure: Progress is just a circle. You will never again be well.

Then, not searched for, through tears and aching rue, you discern something watching, softly denying. Deep within: weighty, sturdy, latent. It can’t be, but simply is: An unobtrusive ‘I’m okay.’ An established, breathing contentment. Your grief, still as militant, has been displaced. It has moved from core to outer parts, to assume in its last moment a belligerent, rebellious superficiality. Joy has taken the throne in the inner place, and at last does not play the zero-sum tug of war with darkness. It lives, regardless; a king of few words, that does not rule with iron because it does not need to. It cannot be moved. It does not protrude to be seen, because it need not go anywhere; it is where it belongs. When it is noticed, it is only by that gentle strength against the cry – that unexpected protestation – as when you leave an impossible decision to chance, and that quiet pang against the outcome betrays the heart in full. It is that deep, authentic objection to the prospect of eternal grief, which tells you that it could never be so. You are already better. And grief goes out, kicking and screaming, cast out from a place which is not its home.


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