Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
A Forum On Loss, On Grief | 6.30.24

A Forum On Loss, On Grief | 6.30.24

Can We Absorb It? - The Sunday Edition

We were never built for this, not really, and I think we know it now. We are suffering creatures, this much is true and highlighted by nearly every form of spirituality we’ve created as a species, but there are limits to our capacities and we’ve long since exceeded them.

Buddha once proclaimed, and has been long misunderstood in his assertion, that life is filled with suffering and there are many specific causes of it, but still again I believe, not like this, not to this extent, not this often. When thinking up all I wished to discuss over the course of the year, as I like to loosely throw down ideas and essay topics onto notepads as they come to me, one that was tossed my way was done so by a dear friend, and it was this:

“What about a forum on loss, or on grief?”

What about it, indeed? What about the grief that comes for things beyond just death in a human and mortal sense, but for the loss of things intangible and difficult to describe? Collectively over the years we’ve come through, we’ve have been inundated by this grief, by this loss, by the death in a very literal sense, but also in the aforementioned intangible manner too. The scale of this suffering is what makes it notable, the width in which it spread, the depth in which it sank. No one has been left untouched by it this time around, as these years did not target only the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, they didn’t single out and aim their merciless sights on only those in countries far enough away to only see on commercials asking for “pennies a day,” which makes the toll they took actually take center stage in a way it hasn’t for years. This is a sad fact, as any suffering should be notable, not just when it affects those closer to home, those whose first world lives aren’t usually disrupted on such scales, but that’s a deeper post on privilege for a different day, one I will no doubt get to.


This is about the toll, and our place to discuss it, this is about that scale, about the length it’s still proving to add onto, and about how I do not believe we’re built to handle this much grief in this short of a time, and it’s about the questions that leads to in this mind of mine. I ask you this, and I ask you humbly as one tiny way to start a much bigger conversation I hope will spill out into the comments below. I am so fascinated in this, so deeply invested in the idea that the only way out is through, and that “through” means together, and that together means ALL of us, all the time, that I’m going to open comments up for everyone, for free, today, so anyone, anywhere, needing support can have it. I want your voices, all, and I want to create a forum on this loss, on this grief, on the ways we’ve endured it and endure it still, and I want it to be a place that reminds us all that we’re not alone, not ever.

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My questions to us all:

What grief have you/are you enduring, what losses have you suffered? How do we absorb so much hurt, so much ache, and loss, always bombarding us, without it staining the people we are, the days we have left that we’re so gifted to live?

We needn’t enumerate the collective miseries we’ve been living through, as they are too many and these words too few, too small to do them justice, but I trust we know the headliners by now. It’s been an extremely trying few years, and it’s been marked and signified by a divide that’s not been seen in this strange country of ours (and honestly in many others around the planet too) in a long, long time. At times it feels something bigger is brewing, some tipping point, some eruption to the caldera beneath these United States that’s been bubbling up since the Civil War. Often quiet, often relieved of its pressure, it feels that it is at magmatic proportions now and is constantly finding new fissures to spew forth from. Eventually, it’s all going to blow unless something seismic shifts, and I do believe it’s this underlying grief and suffering that’s helping push all that lava to the surface.

We’re hurting, all of us, and it doesn’t take much in the form of understanding to see that the root of almost all anger, is hurt. The vitriol we see spread, the misinformation, the hateful rhetoric, it’s all fueled by fear, and if Star Wars, and little Yoda, got anything right it’s this:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

What it doesn’t say, is suffering leads back to fear, and the entire cycle begins again. We’re in this cycle now, one of fear mongering and the proliferation of terror in so many different ways, and we’re seeing the residue of it on a daily basis. We must, we absolutely must, come together to find ways to stop it where it spreads, root it from its soil and destroy it, or else that residue will begin to stain us, more than it ever has before.

We’re already absorbing it, we have been for years, but I do worry that our shields are failing more and more each day. We’re losing our stain-repellency, and our souls are beginning to be exposed to all this grief, all this suffering, and fear.

Let us make this place, this essay, this Signal Fire, what it’s always meant to be, what I intended it to transform into the moment I came up with the idea for it: A TRUE Signal Fire, a beacon lit in the darkness to remind others that help is here, help is coming, it’s on the way. We’re the fire on the mountaintop, the bright orange in the blue hour, that says with shine and smoke: You are not alone, you are not alone, help is here.

Help IS here, and we can do so much more for one another simply by showing up. Today, as we’re spread out and separated by miles and miles and mountains and seas, we can do so with our words, with our care, our grace, and empathy. Ring in, sound off, let us know what grief you’ve been carrying, what immense weight of worry, of loss, of ache, and let others help you carry it. We can relieve one another of these burdens, if slightly, and we should, we so very much should.

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The Signal Fire is lit, and I hope you see it. I hope you warm your hands by its glow.

I hope.

Can we absorb it

without it leaking back out,

without it staining?

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.