March 6, 2024

Dear Mitch,

I saw this passage, and it spoke to me:

Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;

Open your ears to the words of his mouth.

Teach your daughters how to wail;

Teach one another to lament.

Death has climbed in through our windows.

-Jeremiah 9:20-21

I think of this when I was in my darkest hours of grieving for you.

How coherent speech was lost on me, a sob breaks out, then screaming and crying until my lungs hurt from the loss of oxygen, my vision blurred from the tears streaming down my face, and yet I wailed, wailed, and wailed. I now know what keening, or a funeral wail, is. I did not truly understand what this was until I experienced it. And to be honest, it needs to come back as a ritual from long ago because, even though you are spent physically and emotionally after doing it, there is also a cleansing feeling that comes after. It is not lost on me that if people are seen doing this at a funeral or in public after a great loss, it is decided that they are not handling the death well when, in fact, this is a healthy way to heal from such a tremendous loss. There are numerous passages in the Bible that talk about this very thing. I do not see others judging those who are wailing in the Bible, and yet in the present day, grievers are deemed unhealthy mentally.

I need to be given permission

to release this excruciating pain in my heart, as my heart is breaking. It will be painful, loud, and animal-like, but it will come out. I don’t want to feel shame when I am falling apart and feeling the depths of my grief with my whole body. I wrote about this a little in Graveyard Pitfalls when I visit your gravesite.

In the days of my deepest grief,

it was hard to speak without crying or trying to find the right word to express the intensity of what I was feeling. Words in the dictionary don’t quite cover it. There needs to be a grief dictionary with words grievers have made up to express the depth of the anguish being felt.

Through my keening, I am expressing the sorrow of the loss of what once was, what I hoped for in the future, our future dreams that will not come to pass, admitting to your death, and fear of the unexpected future. My grief for you is deep, just as my love for you is deep.

I cry for you because I love you and always will.



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