words about mourning · oliver sacks

[After my mother’s death,] I wondered how I would feel about sitting shiva. I did not know if I could bear it, sitting all day on a low stool with my fellow mourners for seven days on end, receiving a constant stream of people, and talking, talking, talking endlessly of the departed. But I found it a deep and crucial and affirmative experience, this total sharing of emotions and memories, when, alone, I felt so annihilated by my mother’s death…

From On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks, quoted in The Victory of Oliver Sacks, by Jerome Groopman, NYRB LXII, Number 9

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