Thursday, April 01, 2021

A body of grief

What follows is about grief, death and violence, suicide. 

Once again I was in a meeting, this time tucked up in my study under the eaves. It is once again Holy Week, once again the evening before Holy Thursday. And once again, someone crooked their finger at me and said come. And just like that, standing in a doorway, the world exploded. 

My brother-in-law was on the phone. My husband choked out that my nephew had been killed, murdered by an intruder, who then killed himself. Then he collapsed into sobs. 

I am surprised by how quickly my body remembers how to grieve. My stomach roils, my appetite vanishes in a blink. I shiver with shock. 

In his poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” John Updike claims that “ if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle” we — the church — have nothing to stand on. But equally the passion must have been held in the body, the pain not kept at arms length, the thirst for air and the failing grasp at consciousness not metaphor, not sidestepped, but a cup to be drunk to the bitter dregs. 

These mysteries we stand at the edge of, for all their transcendence, for all that we cloak them in light and shimmering music and solemn words, ought to find their way into our bodies. We should ache and shiver and weep with a mother who has lost her son. And pray with all our being that the light will overcome the darkness.


  1. Michelle, such grief! I am so sorry. Prayers!

  2. That is heartbreaking Michelle. My condolences to you and your family.

  3. Thank you for reaching out to us in your unimaginable grief. There are no words to comfort. Prayers for healing.

    1. Thank you for the prayers, Doris.

  4. So sorry ! Praying for you and family

  5. You, Victor and all you love are in my heart and will remain.