Three things last week made me contemplate loss and what it means to me as a human being and as a writer. They didn’t seem all that related when I first read them, but by the end of the week, they had coalesced into these thoughts.
The first was an extremely well written interview in Esquire magazine with Liam Neeson (thanks, C), who many of you know, lost his wife, Natasha Richardson, in a skiing accident in 2009. I’m not a huge fan of the celebrity interview, but I am a fan of Neeson’s and I was extremely impressed by Tom Chiarella’s thoughtful and well-written piece.
In it, Neeson does speak of his wife’s death and of his life since. The passage that stuck with me the most was his story of going to the hospital where his wife was being treated and, for the first time in a long time, no one recognized him. He wasn’t a celebrity or an actor, he was simply a frustrated man who couldn’t get an answer about where his loved one was being kept.
“He’s too smart to feel singled out by what happened to his wife. Her death, with its painfully curious timeline — the simple fall, her apparent clearheadedness, followed by the swift, merciless brain hemorrhage? Brutal and extraordinary. Neeson’s experience at the hospital — the mix-up at reception, the chaos of the ER, the arrival of the security guard? Vivid and, at the same time, banal. Just another hospital story; everyone has them.”
“Brutal and extraordinary.”
“Vivid and … banal.”
This, to me, encapsulates the essence of loss. Continue reading »