Wisdom of Mourning and Love

andré Comte-Sponville

November: the days are getting shorter, the trees are losing their last leaves, the autumn is slowly sinking into the winter ... The tradesmen will soon release their Christmas decorations, our cities will light up with garlands futile. It's just marketing. It's just impatience. It is not yet time to think of gifts, parties, food ... Nature is truer, the calendar is more accurate. November, month of Toussaint. It's cold. It's sad. Dead leaves pick themselves up with shovels; regrets, memories too. It's time to think about our dead. And to ourselves, as mortals.

There are those we lost, our parents, our friends, our children, alas, sometimes. The heart is tightening, just thinking about it. This cold in us and in everything. This night that never stops falling. And yet this sweetness, however, when time has passed, this warmth, this glow, like a preserved or recovered love. Happy are those who have not lost (not yet lost) one of those they loved more than anything. But happier perhaps, in any case stronger, those who have gone through horror without losing themselves completely, those who have found in them, intact or increased, this power of living and of loving without which nothing matters, neither taste, nor interest. This is what

Freud calls the work of mourning: it is about finding the capacity to love, he explains, not certainly forgetting our deaths, it would be only frivolous, but without their memory prevents us from living, on the contrary, from acting or loving. They were alive, wonderfully alive. They loved us. The only way to be faithful to them is to live, even without them, the best we can.

This is also Epicurus' lesson: "Sweet is the memory of the missing friend." It's not true right away. At first, and for a long time, there is only the horror, the tear, the unbearable absence: how atrocious it is no longer alive! Then time passes, the mourning is done. The suffering gradually becomes calm. Something fragile appears, which resembles a force, a joy, a happiness ... How sweet it is that he lived, that we met, known, loved! The Saints? It's only a dream. It's just a myth. There are only living people who die: it is up to us to love them enough, even dead, so that they continue to enlighten us, to accompany us, to give us the strength to live, even without them, and to love .

Work of mourning: work not forgetting but acceptance and gratitude. Our dead will not come back; but it would be to betray the living that they were to renounce for that the life they loved, that they illuminated, and that they continue, in us, to enlighten.Wisdom of All Saints: wisdom of mourning and love. And then there is our death, which will come sooner or later. To fear it? It is to be afraid of nothing (yes: that nothing is death), and to tremble, absurdly, for a shadow. It is better to live, as long as there is still time, and all the more when winter is approaching, when old age comes, when the day is getting shorter. As night falls quickly, in November, and how beautiful the light is!

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