The Long Goodbye
Although our culture that has become more open about everything from incest to sex addiction, grief seemed to me like the last taboo. In our culture of display, the sadness of death is largely silent. (13)
I fence in my terror of the abys with the pretense that information was control. (35-36)
I identify deeply with this quote. O'Rourke explains how, when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, she began doing her own research on the diagnosis, etc. I understand this response. If knowledge is power, whenever a problem arises I inevitably turn to a book. I "jokingly" say that there isn't a situation I can't throw a book at. I could give examples of books I've read because of a personal experience but that list would be so long it's probably best for me to just leave it to your imagination.
If the condition of grief is nearly universal, its transactions are exquisitely personal (56)
On my birthday, a friend mused out loud that my mom’s death had surely been easier to bear because I had known it was coming. I almost bit her head off: Easier to bear compared to what—the time she died of a heart attack? Instead, I bit my tongue. (148)
This both horrified me and made me laugh. I love O'Rourke's imagined/rhetorical question. I also admire her ability to bite her tongue. I don't know that I would have been so polite.
. . . I had been craving . . . a formalization of grief, one that might externalize it. (156)
The disappearance of mourning rituals affects everyone, not just the mourner. (157)
If children learn through exposure to new experiences, mourners unlearn through exposure to absence in new contexts. (175)
I love the world more because it is transient. (187)
[A]ccording to the researcher George Bonanno, the bereaved often take comfort in what is called ‘benefit finding’—a tendency to focus on the so-called silver lining inside the dark cloud. In the midst of pain, optimism may indeed be a necessary survival tactic. (215)
One of the grubby truths about a loss is that you don’t just mourn the dead person, you mourn the person you got to be when the lost one was alive. (228)
Garland of Love
Is the love with which you are transforming the life of another person also transforming your life for the better? (March 26)
There is a song from Funny Girl in which the question is asked "Are you someone better for my love?" Of course it's easy to get caught up in trying to fix the other or make them a better person. However, more important, is seeing how each relationship affects the self. Who am I, in relationship to you? Am I a better person in this relationship with you? And these questions invite us to take responsibility for our relationship choices.
[F]orgive the person who has hurt you—even if you don’t want to, even if it seems impossible, even if what he or she did was unforgivable, even if that person was yourself. (March 29)
It is a peculiar thing. I forgave my first husband for the problems in our marriage, problems I could have easily foreseen if I didn't romanticize the red flags into something else, if I didn't love him through a filter of fairy-tale fantasy. But I still felt angry and it wasn't until recently I realized why I was still holding anger. Until my children were old enough to protect themselves from being hurt by him, I felt I needed to protect them and the only way I knew how to do this was to be angry for them. I don't know if anger and forgiveness can coexist. However, I know that forgiveness begins, not with forgiving the other person but with forgiving yourself. Whenever I've felt stuck in resentment, unable to forgive someone, it is not until I dig deeply into my own choices that I can work through that block.
Younger by the Day
Do not let the way it’s supposed to be deprive you of the good of what actually is. (90)