I have known many things in my life- sadness, fear, depression, but this - it is actually kind of otherworldly- it makes you think about the human capacity to feel such an emotion- if you can even call it that.
But I find myself consistently at a loss to describe it. I know when I started out, I said I wanted to write with Wordsworth's definition of poetry in mind- spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility. Well- you know what- perhaps grief is not poetic. When it is really flowing- it is more like a physical force- running through your body. And you know what- real grief- is wordless. It is made up of moans and groans from a place deep within. And yet, no matter how much you moan, there is no catharsis.
Keening- which you may have seen on TV when people die in a car bomb and old ladies in veils hover over them, is defined as "A lamentation to the dead uttered in a loud wailing voice or wordless chattering cry."
And it doesn't just happen in other countries and it isn't just practiced by old women.
I have done it for 20 minutes just now in my shower hoping that my mom had already taken Audrey out when it began. It brought me to my knees and I thought my physical heart might not be able to take it. And here I sit now, appearing calm, in my bathrobe, wet hair, on my bed, listening to the tropical green parrots that live, yes, in Edgewater, NJ -squawking outside my bedroom window, looking probably rather normal.