I knew that I loved Dan Savage, but I have never loved him more than I do today. He’s featured on this week’s This American Life re-run. He’s the final act. He tells the story of his mother’s death — and how the pain of grieving has brought him back into the Catholic church, an institution he deeply disagrees with, as a place of refuge.
I was deeply moved and affirmed to hear Dan — the snarky, raunchy, funny sex advice columnist — choking up again and again in front of the audience. This was a special live edition of the show, in a theater, in front of hundreds of people. I’m moved and amazed that he chose to tell this story in public. The pain is so real. It’s a pain that levels us all, brings us all to our knees.
I think on some level, Dan learned what I am learning: that writing about our loved one is a way to face to pain, to process it, feel it in hopes of healing it.
On Saturday, I’ll give a remembrance of my own mother at her memorial service in front of about 150 loved ones. It will have been just three weeks since she died. Today, after listening to Dan, I wrote a little bit of more it. The things that are the most true will be the most difficult to say.
With a handkerchief and a bit of luck, I’ll get through it.
I blog about music, careers, the arts — and being a human being. As such, I’ve decided to include these Postcards from Grief as I start the journey of living without my mom. If a sex columnist can write about it, a music blogger can. My mom had an amazing open-heartedness as she shared her experiences with illness and dying, and I would like to follow her example in grief. From what I have seen so far, we need many, many more public discussions of grieving. Before commenting, I would recommend you do some research about helpful and unhelpful sentiments in times of grief.