6 April 2023: On Death, Grief and Life’s Deepest Meanings

~ writing excerpts by Elizabeth Gray Vining

Now that my deepest human love (her husband) had been removed, I found that beauty and courage were not enough. I began blindly, fumblingly, the search for a meaning in life, for a philosophy in which I might find reality and strength by which to live…

Gradually I learned one more thing, quite simple and obvious to many but hidden from me at first: that grief is something not to overcome or to escape but to live with. It is always there, as perceptible as a person who will not go away in spite of hints or plain speaking, but one can make room for it, recognize it as a companion instead of an intruder, be aware of it but not possessed by it; one can continue one’s work, one’s occupation, even one’s joys, in its presence.

Somehow we must learn not only to meet it (sorrow) with courage, which is comparatively easy, but with serenity, which is more difficult, being not a single act but a way of living.

From “Elizabeth Gray Vining Speaks”, Leonard S. Kenworthy, copyright 1982.


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