Is it okay to yearn, to long for, to pine? And for how long? Some grief research has characterized prolonged yearning as “complicated grief,” which is imbued with negative connotations for social and psychological functioning. I can’t fathom not yearning for Kissie. I do it everyday, and expect to for the rest of my life. My yearning is a mixed emotional bag, and the extent of it varies from day to day, month to month, season to season. Sometimes my longing for her is a vast and wordless comfort, and, sometimes, it’s a huddled ball of second thoughts and bone-tiredness. My yearning has taken me on hours-long email reading expeditions as I devour our mundane and exultant exchanges, and fueled excavations of long-forgotten photos and the hoped for, glistening memories. My longing for her is part of my ongoing connection to her. And just as I hunger for the company of those I love who live far away, I ache for those who have died, knowing full well that our time as it once was has ended. I find it nourishing to openly acknowledge my longing, and to feel its many facets as fully and honestly as I can.
Is love itself not yearning? Grief, you are all the love I’ve yearned for, and found, and yearn for still.