There is a wonderfully insightful and comparatively candid interview by one of my favourite writers, Toni Morrison here. In it, she talks about the death of her son (my emphasis):
The book [Morrison’ new novel, Home] is dedicated to her son, Slade, who died 18 months ago and in the face of whose death she found herself wordless. She could not work. She could barely speak and didn’t want to hear comforting words from others.
“What do you say? There really are no words for that. There really aren’t. Somebody tries to say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’ People say that to me. There’s no language for it. Sorry doesn’t do it. I think you should just hug people and mop their floor or something.”
[…]”… people who were trying to soothe me, were trying to soothe me. I never heard anything about him. They say it’s about the living, it’s not, it’s about the dead.”
She doesn’t want “closure”, she says. “It’s such an American thing. I want what I got.”
I made a similar point in a recent post, where I discussed feeling a loss for those who had yet to fulfil their potential, those who would never live their lives, and yet without knowing it. It’s comforting to hear a similar sentiment echoed and amplified in this interview, and expressed so well.