On Love, and Therefore, Grief

The great soft lap of the mother to whom we all return, the inevitable embrace of death, Hekate waits for us with all the time in the world. I find peace with her, eternity with her, and stillness. She is the void, the emptiness that fills every open space. There is no fear or pain in her realm, only expansive peace and gentle repose; complete communion.

Living beings that we are (aren’t we?), we grasp for the shreds of a decaying experience of love, a fading memory that spills like sand from our fingertips. Mnemosyne calls us to spin the wheels in our minds, documenting and attempting to store each fragment of memory. These memories are ultimately faulty since our conscious mind is incapable of holding onto so much ephemera and we fill in the blanks with probabilities and wishes. We create an artificial past truth that is similar to what we experienced but is merely a simulacrum of what we once knew. We are each the storytellers of our own personal histories.

But Baba Yaga waits in the shadows, her body remembers like our bodies remember. They remember in a way that makes the absence of what we loved become a physical anguish. Age and decay are a visceral presence that we shun but cannot escape; abjection the bitter secret we fear to speak. And yet that physicality transports us too, in our transcendent moments, catching a scrap of a song or faint scent on the breeze, the past suddenly holding us close again and breathing hotly on our necks, for good or ill.

I find that grief is like childbirth, it is the birth of our new now. It rolls over us in waves just like contractions and is a process that, once started, will run its course with or without our cooperation. Surrender is the watchword, the deep exhale as the roller coaster comes over the crest, until gravity equalizes again. But how beautiful the relief when it passes, how exquisite the lightness. Our joy succors us between times of grief, if we allow it. Love and grief are infinitely better than grief alone, though they often overlap. A great big bloody, exhausting birth of ever-present experience. There are no stops on this ride, I’m afraid, and we will be transformed by the journey. May it be fruitful.