My oldest and I were discussing the Ancient Greeks, as one does with a 16 year old on the way home from school, and she mentioned something a classmate of hers said in their Socratic discussion. “Grief is the perseverance of love.” To my embarrassment — and her alarm — I choked back a sob. That teenage boy is correct: love inevitably becomes grief, and our grief becomes an extension of our love.
As mortifying as this display of emotion was, it serves a purpose. Acting as if love does not coexist with loss, or that sorrow and happiness are not intertwined, does a disservice to those around us. We are often isolated in our heartbreak, in our sorrow, in our disappointment. We feel as if no one else has felt as broken as we do, but this thought is untrue. Strong emotion is universal and timeless, which is why we find solace in the words of dead poets and philosophers. We find comfort in the words of the dead to make living bearable.
And every once in awhile, the words of a very much alive teenager can offer solace as well. Humans must connect to bear this life.
It’s just what we do.