Absence + Time = ?

Take a beat: Join tomorrow's special Yoga for Grief Support session, open to all.

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note before the weekend.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, grief is weighing heavily on many of our minds. We’re thinking about where we were on that day, remembering lost loved ones, or even just the stories of those who died and who we felt like we got to know through the news. We’re thinking about people we love who were with us at that time and are no longer here. Or how we have been marginalized or attacked ourselves as a result of our skin color or belief system or any other thing in the wake of the attacks. And all of us who can remember are probably thinking about how much has changed in our lives since then. The impact of time on absence is real, and its outcomes are endless.

I love all of our 9/11-related pieces, which you can find on our site: There’s the man who stared at the crumbling Twin Towers and decided if he were to survive the attacks, he’d be making a massive career change (20 years on, it’s still sticking, by the way); the woman who still learns life lessons from her best friend, who died in the North Tower; the mother whose son asked for his dad every single day for nine straight years after he never came back from work. And beyond the Modern Loss website, of course, I always come back to this pitch-perfect New York Times piece from November 2001, “The Way We Live Now: 11-11-01; Lost and Found.”

As much as I try to not force poetry upon you, I do want to leave you with a personal favorite – The Thing Is – by Ellen Bass. She does a much better job than I ever could speaking to the long arc of loss and how the human spirit dares to take risks, and even thrive, in the face of it. So thanks for indulging me:

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you down like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

More later this month with a special deep-dive issue. Safe and sound weekend to all.

— Rebecca Soffer

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Tomorrow: Yoga for Grief for ALL

In the spirit of recognizing that everyone deserves access to take a beat and a breath, we are making September’s yoga for grief support session FREE session for our entire community tomorrow morning, thanks to the wonderful Sandy Ayre. Please carve out a few minutes to examine your losses and check in with yourself and your needs on a weekend laden with memory.

Register in advance here.

And if you get something out of it and want more, please consider becoming a paid subscriber, which in turn allows us to keep scheduling these monthly connection points for you.

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