This week we said goodbye to an old friend of mine. She was taken from us way to young. Being at the memorial service and watching everyone grieve got me to thinking.
Many of us write about loss in our stories, whether it be a main plot point or just a side note. It seems to me that when a person dies, especially in a story, our main way of dealing is to cry. We write lengthy scenes where people bawl their eyes out, hoping our readers do the same. Yet not everyone grieves that way.
At the memorial yesterday what I saw was a true celebration of life. Yes there were tears of course, and hugs that were held for a long while. But mostly what I saw was love. I saw people smiling and laughing, remembering a person who loved to do those things. I saw friends reconnecting after years apart. I saw the good side of grief.
So why don't we write grief this way? Part of me wonders if it is because we are trying to elicit that emotion from our readers. But do our characters have to cry for our readers to? I feel like it would be much more poignant to write about loss in a different way, in a way that people truly feel loss, that maybe that is more emotional.
I know I'm not going to change the way everyone writes, and clearly the other way works well. I just want us all to step back a little as we write and take in the true feeling of it all.