This is not about the depth of grief in general, which pretty much everyone can relate to. It’s more about how confounding it is, how gone someone is after they die.
And maybe that’s not even it. Maybe it has more to do with the way the world just fills in the space that they used to hold, like water or sand or air. And it doesn’t matter how you try to memorialize them: a stone in the ground, a photograph in a frame, an obituary in the New York Times, a blog post—those things just occupy the space they themselves are in, but they don’t move through the world, making jokes and drinking wine, getting pissed off, doing good work, wagging their tail when you come in. Those things don’t know that you love them, and take that love on their travels throughout the world, which is so much of what makes living…good/worth it/something other than miserable. (I don’t know; take your pick or add your own.)
Every death brings up all the other deaths (blah, blah, blah). I stopped talking to my childhood bestfriend, Rhona, and years went by, and then she died without saying goodbye. I did not say, “I love you. I have always loved you. Don’t think I won’t miss you every day.” So far, in this life, that is my biggest regret. (Please don’t be fooled by the size and flatness of that word, “regret”: imagine one’s own private, self-directed torture chamber.)
I think this is why we practice recognizing that the ordinary is the sacred—because it gives right here, right now, this unbearable sadness, it’s glorious due.