Another random crying jag in the car, courtesy of the ever-reliable VNV Nation. These spells puzzle me – the feeling is real and palpable, but I never know just who, or what, I am grieving for. I have no lack of reasons to cry (does anyone?), but I don’t have to be thinking of anything in particular to find myself suddenly bawling. Nor is it just the effect of a sad song – it comes from somewhere deeper than that.
We are taught to think of grief as something finite, that can be processed over time and done away with, like a flooded basement that can be pumped dry. But it seems to me that when the pain is acute enough, it is like a hole punched through the hull of a ship, through which the waters of unseen oceans rush in. It is as if we become forever after a receptor for seas of grief and loss that underly all of human life, shared by everyone; enormous, world-spanning and inexhaustible. We can bail diligently, but never stem the tide; it dwarfs our petty traumas and wracks us with pangs that are as old as life and love.