Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!
--Edna St. Vincent Millay
Renascence and Other Poems, 1917
It’s kind of odd that this is one of my most favorite poems, since I have never experienced such a loss. I mean, I have experienced the deaths of extended family members, but nothing like the next-level kind of loss that is expressed in the poem. I can’t even imagine the depths of the pain of losing someone I’ve actually lived with or formed those inner-circle bonds with; like a best friend, a parent, a spouse, or - Heaven forbid - a child. I have felt an inkling of the bottomless grief second hand through close friends and family who have lost inner-circle loved ones, but that is nowhere near the same as actually experiencing that kind of loss, I’m sure.
I think I just love the poem because it articulates the multifaceted anguish so vividly that I can almost feel it. Not that I want to feel it; I’m just moved that a collection of words can open my heart to emotions deeper than I could fathom before I read them, and give me more compassion toward those who are trying to navigate the perilous depths of sorrow.
It makes me feel more connected to humanity. I feel more connected to God. I feel more replete with love to give to those who ache. Even if I can only faintly grasp the shallows of that pain, I am more willing to wade as deep as I can to mourn with anyone suffers there.
I feel more.