Resources for Loss

"When Great Trees Fall" by Maya Angelou, contributed by Ella Eisenberg (2021)

This piece by American poet Maya Angelou has long been a favorite of mine. Its discussion of the natural world reminds of the inevitability and "naturalness" of loss but also acknowledges that despite this inevitability, when a large loss does occur, life is still rattled. Beings big and small seem to seek safety and stability when great trees fall. The widespread disruption stands as a parallel to the effects felt by survivors when a significant person in their lives dies. When great souls die, the ecosystems of our minds and our hearts sense the change and wither at least for a period. But the beauty of life is that, just like the natural world, we can eventually recover. New growth springs up, not identical to what was, but beautiful and bustling nonetheless. Without the space and the nourishment of what once stood, this would not be possible. The cycle and continuation of life itself is a testament to what had been; for though great souls die, we can make meaning from the knowledge that they existed and touched our lives.

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