It astonishes me sometimes — no, often — how every person I get to know — everyone, regardless of everything, by which I mean everything — lives with some profound personal sorrow. Brother addicted. Mother murdered. Dad died in surgery. Rejected by their family. Cancer came back. Evicted. Fetus not okay. Everyone, regardless, always, of everything. Not to mention the existential sorrow we all might be afflicted with, which is that we, and what we love, will soon be annihilated. Which sounds more dramatic than it might. Let me just say dead. Is this, sorrow, of which our impending being no more might be the foundation, the great wilderness? Is sorrow the true wild? And if it is — and if we join them — your wild to mine — what’s that? For joining, too, is a kind of annihilation. What if we joined our sorrows, I’m saying. I’m saying: What if that is joy?
They offer several scenarios for what a “grief literate society” would look like: it would include grief education in curricula, starting in junior levels; it recognizes and acknowledges grief from non-death losses, and pet deaths, and does not rank those losses vis-a-vis human death loss. People in a grief literate society would understand and accept differences in grieving styles, in terms of gender, race, and culture, and they would feel comfortable to talk about their own loss experiences and to ask about loss experiences of others, instead of avoiding the subject or showing discomfort.