Sorrow is irrevocably paired with kindness. Perspective can be pain’s companion. Fear of what lies ahead may be mirrored by hope. What’s lost has been perennially entwined with what may be found.
Loss can be as much about transformation and adaptation as it is about dissipation. One does not ordinarily wish to lose things, but we are powerless against the sea changes wrought when the universe takes away what we have loved.
Yet love’s labours may not be lost so much as they will be reconfigured for us, and we may even learn to find beauty in the world we occupy after such loss. “At Christmas I no more desire a rose/ Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled shows, /But like each thing that in season grows.” (It’s an observation not remotely worthy of Shakespeare’s metaphorical finesse . . . but I confess I still crave roses in December; I have, however, come to accept that roses will no longer be coming my way.)
Mary Oliver’s Blackwater Woods captured both sides of the muddy divide.