What is a good metaphor, or simile, for grief?
Grief is powerful and inevitable. It occurs to all of us. It can be disabling. It can feel like a tsunami – an unimaginably powerful force overtaking and smothering every other aspect of… reality. Grief can feel like a magnet – one occurrence of grief becoming a magnet for every other possible grief response we might have imagined, but never did, and so when a knife-like grief experience occurs, suddenly…. other grief responses are invited into spaces that existed before… but now those spaces also have the added burden of grief.
So what are good similes or metaphors for grief, I ask my writing community? Please! I want to know! Comment on this post, or create a post of your own that links to your personal website. Please. Similes and metaphors are powerful tools in writers’ toolboxes for dealing with… and shaping… grief. (And also other powerful life experiences.)
Many of us know the power, value, and utility of simile and metaphor.
Simile is saying something “is like” something else.
Metaphor is saying something IS (identity-like) something else. A bit more powerful and abstract than simile.
Similes AND metaphors have their place and their usefulness as we understand our human experience.
So what are the metaphors (or similes) for grief?
Grief is like the rogue wave, unexpectedly roaring in and covering, maybe obliterating, everything in its path. (That is a simile.)
Grief is a cranky bitch. (That is a metaphor – the “is,” construction, not the “is like” construction.) But this statement invites questions about the meaning of “cranky” and the meaning of “bitch.” I will not expend my own life force on explaining this metaphor at this time. But let me know in a comment if the metaphor intrigues you.
So I return to my original question: what is a good metaphor, or a good simile, for grief? Because metaphors and similes allow us room, and space, and vocabulary, with which to deconstruct and understand life experiences that otherwise would be…. obliterating of our own lives, or of the meaning of our own lives.
We grieve all kinds of losses.
We grieve the loss of the heart-beating lives experienced by people we know and love, even when the ending of that life is a loss more to “us” than to the person who lived that life.
We grieve the loss of… jobs… marriages…. friendships… tomato plants that did not thrive in clay soil.
Like many people, I retreat from the nearly overwhelming, death-dealing, breath-squeezing, reality of authentic grief to the….. safer… less breath-squeezing level of… humor.
I feel, in this moment, when asking for a simile or metaphor for grief…. that I would like to know: “I do not know what I am talking about; do you know what I am talking about?” (That statement/question is my idea of humor.)
My beloved and respected writing friends’ authentic wisdom about grief is invited. We all experience grief. May our collective and caring words about grief serve to increase compassion in the world. And thereby change the world and the future of humanity.