Don’t get me wrong: grief sucks, it really does. Unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of life, of the now, of a sense of living spirit. Mostly I have tried to avoid it by staying very busy, working too hard, achieving as much as possible. You can often avoid the pain by trying to fix other people; shopping helps in a pinch, as does romantic obsession. Martyrdom can’t be beat. While too much exercise works for many people, it doesn’t for me, although I have found that a stack of magazines can be numbing and even mood-altering. The bad news is that whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of gold that feeling grief will give you. A fixation can keep you nicely defined and give you the illusion that your life has not fallen apart. But since your life may indeed have fallen apart, the illusion won’t hold up forever, and if you are lucky and brave, you will want to bear disillusion. You begin to cry and writhe and yell and then to keep on crying; and finally, grief ends up giving you the two best gifts: softness and illumination.
— Anne Lamott, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, p. 34-35