On Grief and Reason

Pierce Penniless

Several months ago, a friend and former lover, J, killed himself. Some weeks after that, a friend died very unexpectedly in his sleep. Since then, I have been trying to understand suicide, death and grief. I have kept a file on my computer where I’ve put down thoughts, questions, observations, measurements. I have tried several times to corral those fragments into something more coherent and complete, to try to reason through grief. These efforts have usually ended up deleted, or literally printed out and shredded.

Nonetheless the urge to write about it remained, and specifically to write about making sense of suicide, which strikes me as not a kind of death in the order of other deaths, and especially of the grief that follows. Necessarily, what I write below is also marked by that second death, too, less explicitly but no less deeply. I am unconvinced of the value or…

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