This issue of Room does not offer comfort. Certainly not the comfort offered by unblinking screens when your own eyes are bleary and you are searching for answers. We offer no prescriptions, like “how you should be coping” or these are “stages” you shall pass through.
We bring truths, even bleak truths, and an intimacy offered to those reading these pages of private moments, fiction or not, all true of heart. Margaret Laurence said all writing “is an act of hope and faith; it says life is worth living.” I believe her, and am guided by her, having only met her through intimate reading.
I believe her, although the inspiration for the theme Mythologies of Loss comes from the aftermath of losing my son in childbirth, when a dumb and numb sadness pressed its cold body over everything. Those who have outlived anyone you loved deeply know what I mean.
In truth, that last sentence is a question, “Do you know what I mean?” (I ask, as songwriter Christa Couture does in our issue.)
While reviewing submissions for this issue, it became clear to me that writers and artists, as sensing people, aware of nuances, and cycles of life, do know. Writing and art is often the best place to turn in grief, quite simply because writers, poets, and artists face loss head on: we pick apart the mythologies of our cultures; we reconstruct them.
Joy Kogawa’s reconstruction sees loss as blessing, bringing us something deeper than what we had before. And Sue Goyette says that writing on loss made her feel wild in its true sense, thriving.
I believe writing and reading on loss opens within us a greater capacity for much-needed tenderness. Fundamentally, the writing in this issue reaches out, from one solitude (writing) to another solitude (reading). It shares how we all manage, how we honour and cherish, how things are messed up, how they are beautiful. In all of this, I hope you find something tender and true.
See also: Christa Couture: Creating Beauty from Grief (full interview)