(Notable Quotables is a meme originally brought to you by the Bewitched Bookworms. Every Monday you’re invited to share a favorite quote or two from the books you’ve been reading.)
After death comes grief, which can be an even more difficult emotion to deal with.
The following is a very serious quote from a very serious play with the silliest name ever: The Circumference of a Squirrel: A Riff with an Inner-Tube. The main character, Chester, must work through his painful relationship with his racist father (now dead) who develops a passionate hatred for squirrels after being bitten by one and having to endure rabies shots. Here’s my favorite part:
“An article I found in one of the National Geographics about the Australian outback says the Aboriginees dramatize both sorrow and grief. They dramatize grief. When a relative dies, both men and women cry, dance, undergo ritual bloodletting. They carry on until they ‘become empty with grief.’ Displays of sorrow are performed not only to express personal loss, but also to identify with the others who have experienced grief. Our culture has no language for grief: verbal, physical, ritualistic. We don’t know how to express it; so grief fills us so completely that it becomes too heavy to pick up, like a squirrel trying to carry a whole bagel up a tree.”
I’m not exactly certain why this quote appeals so much to me. Maybe it’s because it makes me wish that such displays of grief were acceptable in my culture. We can’t control death, but we can control how we express our grief.
What are you reading this week?