| grief (masculine noun) | /dœj/

Given that I’m an American expatriate living in France, I feel that I must comment on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. It’s expected, isn’t it? But what should I say? Nothing I write will do justice to the trauma and grief, so why bother. I am a student of literature, but, here, I feel that words are futile. They are weak, simply grasping at sensations and significance without ever truly capturing them. What makes trauma so evasive?

All I know is this: In this brutal world, I am actively searching for joy. I find it in a homemade quiche lovingly made with my roommate, while my friends chatter and laugh in the dining room. There’s the happy sound of wine glasses clinking, “To Paris. To peace.” I find it in the warm embrace of a newfound community. Yes, I am American, but I am also a part of something in France. Here. Now. I have my feet set firmly in two countries, on two continents. And this past weekend, I held out my arms to both.

I have no answers, so don’t come looking to me. But I can tell you that deep within that vacuous, abysmal grief, there are vacuum pockets of joy that will take your breath away. And if you surrender yourself to them, you can evade the horrors of this world…if even for a moment.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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