I’ve previously written about grief, and I’ve previously written about my newfound love of NPR. Here, the two collide.
It’s been about 8 months since my dad has passed away. This week there was something in the air. I was overly emotional about everything. I thought I might explode with tears and emotion at any second. My grief came barreling back in to my life, shocking me so much it nearly knocked me off my feet.
But then Friday, a few things happened. Sometimes you hear or see or read things that just grab you, speak to your soul – one of which lately has been Carry On, Warrior that I’ve blogged about multiple times, but Friday it was a segment on NPR.
The segment was called, “A Poet on Losing His Son: ‘Before You Heal, You Have to Mourn.'” You can listen to the full 7-minute segment here (or read the transcript). Below I share some of my favorite parts of the interview, words I can relate to so well.
I don’t like the whole language of healing, which seems to me so false. As soon as something happens to us in America, everyone begins talking about healing. But before you heal, you have to mourn. And I found that poetry doesn’t shield you from grief, but it does give you an expression of that grief. And trying to express it, trying to articulate it, seemed like something I could do. And it gave me something to do with my grief.
There is no right way to grieve, and you have to let people grieve in the way that they can. One of the things that happens to everyone who is grief-stricken, who has lost someone, is there comes a time when everyone else just wants you to get over it, but of course you don’t get over it. You get stronger; you try and live on; you endure; you change; but you don’t get over it. You carry it with you.
Excerpt from Gabriel – Edward Hirsch’s book
I did not know the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night
The mountaintop is not in sight
Because there is no mountaintop
Poor Sisyphus grief
I did not know I would struggle
Through a ragged underbrush
Without an upward path
Because there is no path
There is only a blunt rock
With a river to fall into
And Time with its medieval chambers
Time with its jagged edges
And blunt instruments
I did not know the work of mourning
Is a labor in the dark
We carry inside ourselves
I’ve never been big into poetry, but I thought this was so beautiful and raw and emotional. You might think this would make me feel more grief-stricken, but it’s more so comforting. It’s always encouraging to hear others who seem to understand exactly what you’re feeling and can put it into words better than you can. I’m not alone in my emotion.
Friday continued with a few other encouraging things – a perfectly-timed devotional, an eye-opening talk with a friend and some absolutely wonderful news at the end of the day that made me cry tears of joy. After a painful week, God knew exactly what I needed to continue the healing process. He is so good and so faithful and so loving.
So, happy weekend friends. I still feel very reflective this rainy, Saturday morning, but I also feel just a little stronger.
Carry on, warrior
I’ve never been much of a radio listener. I enjoy music of course, but always hated talk radio. Growing up on road trips when my parents would turn on talk radio or sports I thought it was the worst thing in the world. But the worst of the worst was when they turned on NPR – UGH. In my mind, NPR was an old-person radio station with boring news by boring people who have boring, monotonous voices.
I had a very negative connotation of NPR for years, until just last week.
As I’ve stated previously, we recently gave up cable and one of the things I miss most is watching/listening to The Today Show in the mornings while getting ready for work. When husband said there was a new NPR app he wanted to listen to in the mornings, I was hesitant to try it, but wanted something to fill the void even if it was the old-person radio.
NPR One is similar to Pandora – you can skip the segments you don’t want to hear and mark what you find interesting so it caters content to you. Guess what … it’s incredible.
I do still have a problem with the monotonous voices (I know, that’s just radio, but I guess I need more flair than that). But the content is fascinating. I’ve realized I don’t necessarily enjoy listening to the typical news segments, local, national or global, but I love the random stories I would never hear otherwise.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned from NPR this week …
- There are things called Morning Glory Raves. Strip away the drugs and alcohol typical to a rave, keep the loud music and energetic dancing and do it at 6:30am on a weekday. There are smoothie and espresso bars. People bring their kids. It’s a family-friendly party before work and school, and it sounds amazing. Currently only in London, Bangalore, Sydney, New York and San Fran, I’m thinking of starting one in Bentonville.
- Guys are more likely to say “uh” and girls are more likely to say “um.” When people say “uh” they’re searching for what to say and when they say “um” they’re searching for how to say it. Fascinating.
- Hops, a main ingredient in craft beer, is steadily rising in price due to the increasing popularity of craft beers in the US.
- There are only 1,600 pandas in the entire world and 300 are in captivity. One of those 1,600 had triplets this week, which is extremely extremely rare.
- Of all the U.S. currency in the world, nearly 80% is in $100 bills. That’s about a trillion dollars. One economist is suggesting doing away with the bill because it’s beneficial mostly to criminals (drug lords, human traffickers, etc.) to smuggle money more easily.
Where else but NPR would I have learned all of this as well as kept abreast on what’s happening with Ebola, Ferguson, Mo. and the interstate construction in Arkansas?
I guess I’m officially a convert, and I can’t wait for the day when my kids think I’m an old, boring person listening to talk radio on road trips.