The Year Gone By
Published: September 15, 2009 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Chivalry,

     The past year has been chocked full of change, both happy and horrible.  I've lost two important people to me, one, a big, bright spirit who meant so much to me in so many different ways for so long, another whom I enjoyed talking to and teasing, who I was just beginning to get to know in that completely effortless, guards-down familiar way.

     Mourning has been hard work.  It's not easy to understand or control my feelings, or even find the time to sort through them... I feel like one year later, I'm just beginning to define the boundaries of the love and loss and sweet memories and sour missing, sort of like mapping the ocean floor.

     Talking with friends and loves has been my biggest solace, but I worry about being overbearing, seeming too emo or needy, or just not always being able to read where others are at in this process, when talking or joking, looking at pictures or listening to music is hurtful instead of heart warming.

     Thanks for any and all advice - and of course, for just listening patiently.

-- Good Grief

Dear Good Grief,

     I'm sure no one expects you to suffer in silence.  You should always be able to rely on your friends and loved ones for support in hard times.  Dealing with loss can take hold a hold on you in ways unexpected and undesired, so it's easy to feel like you can't control your own despondence.  

     It may be a fairly obvious suggestion, but it could be beneficial for you to try and channel these feelings into some sort of creative output.  Writing, drawing, performance, whatever shape it may take, the therapy that comes with artistic expression could prove invaluable. Of course, it would be up to you to decide if this is an appropriate solution for how you feel, but it could be a useful coping mechanism that can help take some of the weight off of your shoulders.

     I remember listening to a recording of an interview a few years ago.  A radio host was talking to a musician, and for some reason they started to discuss their age and the recent years in their lives.  The host explained that he was about to turn 24 and the musician (who was 25) commented somewhere along the lines of, "23, yeah 23 is a bad year, 24 is great though, just try to put 23 behind you and move on."  You could tell that he was comparing the host's life to his own in a sarcastic but honest way.  For some reason that little comment has always stuck with me as I've compared the past years of my life.  Of course some have been better than others, but usually full of change like you mentioned.  Whenever I hear someone say they've had a bad year though, I always think the same thing: next year will be better.  So try to move on from the past as best you can and know that things will get easier for you, eventually.

     Take care.




Black Heart Procession, The - Till We Have To Say Goodbye
Scott Walker - If You Go Away
Michael Nyman - The Departure
J. Spaceman & Sun City Girls - Farewell
M83 - Gone
Björk - Undo
Broadcast - Oh How I Miss You
Colleen - Your Heart On Your Sleeve
Kouran Kin & Sinkou Son - Songs In Grief
Calvin Johnson - The Past Comes Back To Haunt Me