Most of us know, of course, that people feel sad when they grieve. But we know this as an abstract fact, a bit of information. It is not until we actually experience a profound loss that we really know how intensely sadness can penetrate our being, how all-encompassing and bottomless it can seem. 26
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
...he doesn't know how huge and never-ending it is, the death of a parent. (161)
Ah, you see, you ask about my mum, and I talk about her death. Because it's still incredible to me. They always say you get over these things and only remember the happy times. Well, mabye not. It's eight years ago now, and I can't exactly say that I smile whenever I think about her. I still think: she's dead. I still think it's wrong. Out of thousands of years of great literature, novels, poetry, essays, diatribes and philosophy, the Death of Your Mother seems to be quite a small theme. It should be massive. I can't work out if it's too huge, or too ordinary. (517)
If I can't imagine a world in which our mothers are there, at the end of our lives, in our time of need, to help us, then what's the point? It'll never really happen, so I want to imagine it. (622)