I didn’t want to lean into sorrow today.

As I started my morning, a song from the Broadway play and movie, Camelot kept playing in my ear. The song expresses the hope of spring when we throw our cares away after the long winter. Trying to shed the sadness of loss for what cannot be, Arthur and Guenevere attempt to ignore the truth.

Tra la! It’s May!

The lusty month of May!

That darling month when ev’ryone throws

Self-control away.

It’s time to do

A wretched thing or two,

And try to make each precious day

One you’ll always rue!

How do you “make each precious day one you’ll always rue” when you don’t feel the lighthearted lustiness of May? I’m not apologetic for always holding true as a “cock-eyed optimist.”

But today, my joy for the start of May, flowers, hummingbirds, and sunshine gave way to deeper emotions. Touched by the words of Desiree Driesenaar, I could not shake the need to lean into sorrow and grief. You can’t sweep those feelings under the rug and pretend everything is fine.

The world is not okay. Our world, whether we care to admit it or not, will not return. As you go about your day trying to resume activities, darkness envelopes the lives of many. You must give voice to them and your own feelings.

Tragedy has visited my doorstep uninvited. Your pat on the shoulder telling me I would feel better soon won’t take away the sorrow. No. I will not feel better about this.

The people who stood by me and sat with me to feel the pain—they gave something I needed as I rode the wave of my emotions. They leaned into the sorrow, the emptiness, and the unbearable grief.

So, if you find yourself in need of someone to sit by your side and just be with you, I offer these feeble words of comfort. These quotations cannot replace the touch of a hand or a smile. But they come to you with compassion and a deep understanding of loss.

Lean into Sorrow

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard heart.”
— Dickens, Great Expectations

“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”
—Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
—William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Who needs you today to lean in with them? Don’t wait to call, text, or shout across the street. You may think those actions too small, but they may mean more than you will ever know.

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo: Russell Smith on Pixabay