Notes on Grief, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How ‘Notes on Grief’ Made Me Face My Greatest Fear

My thoughts on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay ‘Notes on Grief’

Notes on Grief, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Notes on Grief, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

(HOW ‘NOTES ON GRIEF’ MADE ME FACE MY GREATEST FEAR first published on Medium publication Coffee Time Reviews. You can read the full review here)

What is mourning, and what is grief?

The loss of a loved one is perhaps something no one will be fully able to perfectly transcribe into words. If the one who is left behind feels bereft, how can some other such person’s words provide solace? Or can it?

Grief is multifaceted, just as much as mourning is. We all mourn differently. I for one have a bad bad habit of repressing my memories. I know of a friend who became cruel to well-wishers who went to offer condolences. There’s a distant relative who laughed and laughed when they got the news. There’s an ancestor who went mute.

Who feels their grief the most?

Who wears it proudly as a shroud, as armour to establish a barrier between acceptance and denial?

Who is graceful in the face of loss?

And can there be grace in someone’s denial of the loss of a loved one?

My thoughts on ‘Notes on Grief’

I recently read Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an essay written in the aftermath of the death of her father. Aftermath. That is a heavy word indeed. As though all the ravage that is left behind after someone passes away is grave and vicious. And indeed, isn’t that’s what’s left behind? It eats away at the soul and makes the pain a physical entity. How do you suddenly start talking about someone in the past tense? How do you write ‘was’ from what was once ‘is’?

Attempting to write a ‘review’ feels like an insult to this loss. I couldn’t really dare. So I tried to write down what it made me feel and think - in as much as I was able to. Loss is never really definable. So how could I go ahead and try to pick apart the words and critique this beautiful but raw and powerful homage to a loving father by a bereft daughter?

Disclaimer: I received this review copy from the publishers @harpercollinsin . All thoughts and views expressed are my own and in no way influenced by external factors.

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