One of my favourite songs from the Les Mis is Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, and in that song there is a line that, every time I hear it, never fails to give me chills. There’s a grief that can’t be spoken…
A grief that can’t be spoken. When I blogged through holy week many years ago, and I reflected on Holy Saturday, I titled the blog with this. And still I can’t get it out from under my skin. There is a grief that can’t be spoken.
There is so much of grief that is unspoken. Unspoken because you cannot possibly find the words from inside yourself, to be able to put voice to them. Unspoken because there are things that don’t need to be put into the ether. Unspoken because it is simply so mind numbingly mundane and utterly dull- because it is sometimes, grief is boring- that it is the last thing you want to say.
But there are other things unspoken. All those conversations that you want to have with the person who has left you behind. All the things that you should be able to say to them. The things you were saying when grief interrupted, that now remain unspoken. Forever unspoken.
There is, however, a small part, of your unspoken grief that feels comforting. That is unspoken because you like it that way. Unspoken because it feels like a secret between you and them, the bit that, were they still alive, would be the most precious heart of your relationship with them.
And so sometimes, while the unspoken grief can be dark and lonely, it can also be a place to retreat to. To explore and dwell in.