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  • Writer's pictureLauren L. Murphy

Thin Space No. 23: Softening Grief

The Question

Is the idea of softening grief sad, comforting, or painful to you? Why?


The Intention



The Meditative Moment

When a grieving first occurs, it is sharp, uncomfortable, pervasive. Over time, as days go by, as anniversaries pass, as we “return” to life, it softens; this can take years. It doesn’t poke at us in quite the same way. There can be a relief with this softening: it’s no longer all-consuming. And yet, it shows that we are moving forward in a way we weren’t sure we ever could. The grieving has gone from sharp pain to dull ache. Will it disappear entirely? In my experience, disappearing grief is not a thing. Some days I wish it were. But, no: it shifts and flows, stabs and throbs, settles into the background and comes roaring to the foreground. The first occurrence of softening always takes my breath away, but it reminds me that this is a lifelong process of grieving, not a moment of grief. Weirdly, I find this comforting. But it’s taken me a long time of grieving to feel this way.

Burren, Ireland

Originally sent August 23, 2023, to paid Substack subscribers. If you want to receive current Thin Space reflections, you can start a paid subscription here: You can choose to pay $75/year or $8/month.

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