SORROW has many faces. Sorrow doesn’t discriminate, nor does it tread lightly. When we speak of sorrow, like a universal code, we know it means trouble; a death, an illness, the loss of a job, betrayal. Sometimes it’s personal; the loss of self esteem, the onset of depression. Other times it’s global; think Steve Jobs and the loss of everyone’s favorite pioneering tech guru.
In almost every instance we cry when sorrow darkens our doorstep, for the very reason that sorrow makes us sad, and we cry when we’re sad. I’ve come to believe the worst sorrow comes when it affects us directly. None of us actually knew Steve Jobs, but I’m writing this blog on the computer he invented, today I talked to my daughter on the phone he invented, and before bed tonight my son relaxed on the portable tablet he invented. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
And who knows, with Steve Jobs gone, who’s going to invent the next generation of devices that make us love APPLE more than any other brand in the world? Yes, Apple is the most loved brand in the US, the UK, in France, Italy, Russia, Israel, even Pakistan. I took a cab ride the other night and was informed by my lovely Pakistani driver that Steve Jobs death was the lead story on their network news program. Their products aren’t just evolutionary, they are revolutionary. Who gets to lead the revolution?
I never met John Lennon, but he’s meant more to my honey, so by extension to me, than almost anyone else, ever. He would have been 71 today. Imagine. When he was assassinated a generation ago everyone felt the pain and sorrow, and his passing still haunts many of us 31 years later. The sorrow has faded, but it will never fade away. His genius wasn’t just that he, along with Paul, wrote more hit songs and sold more records than anyone else ever, it’s that he informed a cultural shift that touched everything from the way we listen to music, to the way we wore our hair, to the way we went to concerts, to what we thought about when we fell in love.
Say the WORD and you’ll be free. And the word is LOVE. Nobody ever SAID that before in popular music with an incredible beat. Imagine if he had the past 31 years to create, to write, to continue the dialogue. Sorrow.
The rule of three states emphatically that good, or bad, things come in threes and I’ve saved the worst for last. Sorrow.
My sweet, loving, talented, bright, capable, inspiring, loving daughter has been hospitalized – again. Sorrow. The pain, the unrelenting pain that I feel is unbearable. Imagine the weight of a thousand bricks piled high on your chest and that doesn’t begin to describe it. I feel like I’ve failed… her… my son. I can guide and protect and love and offer myself in ways large and small, but now as her treatment begins anew, all I feel is sorrow.
When is she going to get better? How could she be back in a psych hospital disguised as a small college campus when everything — school, friendships, extra-curricular — has been going as well as we could have hoped?
But she’s strong, she’s a fighter, and she will persevere in ways that will teach all of us, starting with me, how to feel sorrow and become better because of it.
As I continue to write about our struggle with post traumatic stress and the toll it takes on all concerned know that my struggle will not be wasted if I can help one person address their sorrow with as much courage and commitment as THEY need so healing can begin for them.
The homework we come here to focus on knows few limits, doesn’t care if it brings happiness or sadness, it just is. And so it is from this place that I say, no matter what your struggle — be it large or small — you can win, you can replace angst with calm, you can substitute tears for a smile and you can persevere no matter what.
I’m going to read that last paragraph again and again . . . and hold on to the light, while sorrow dances quietly in the dark next to me.