Discover more from less senses
This newsletter is here to connect you to your five senses and your grief at times when life and death make no sense. Consider it an imperfect “grounding exercise” for the month.
My first “grief symptom” was a loss of sense-memory. Mom died and the comforts, the familiar things, became unfamiliar; the unfamiliar things became frightening. I wasn’t fragile, but I was easily unmoored. Grief’’s sea was chaotic and underwhelming. It moved my head and heart, charting its own logic and course.
A teacher-friend assigned the book “A Natural History of the Senses” in my first year of college. It was beautiful upon first read, sensuous and anecdotal; it became essential upon the second. The book made a game of noticing things: sounds, images, textures, and smells, and helped put me in my body and in the world again. It was a timely reminder that brokenness and beauty co-exist, and can even exist in each other, when you’re willing to feel, see, hear, smell, taste, and grieve — all at once.
This hodgepodge of links have the potential to surprise, delight, warm, probe, and reflect. Take what works, leave what doesn’t. Grieve however feels best: a little, a lot, not at all, loud, quiet, at length, in private. And as much as you can, take heart.
FEEL - Subway Hands
We do a lot with our hands. Rarely do we watch or hone in on how our hands work, how expressive they are in their intent, emotion, playfulness, etc. This instagram delights in discreet moments captured in transit.
SEE - Memory
A portrait of a grandmother living with dementia filmed by her granddaughter, Margaret Rorison. This short is quiet and confined by silence and monochrome. The only sound is locusts outside of Rorison’s grandmother’s home. I like that it asks nothing more of its audience than to sit with its subject.
SMELL - Scents That Don't Exist Anymore
Sometimes beautiful, sometimes hilarious (the memory of sewage on the wind), I love this thread and it’s storytelling.
HEAR - Life According to Raechel
Madison Cunningham’s song welcomes you in. It starts and ends with the promise “once your girl, I’m always your girl,” and walks you through the sonically-cinematic loss of a person. Listen on a nighttime drive with the windows down and the volume up.
TASTE - Food Timeline
Food is nostalgic for the people we share it with. This timeline lists recipes and their ingredient-lineage and legacy.
Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper first began their dialogue about grief and mother-loss on television. Both articulate and story conscious, this podcast is tender and moving, exploring many kinds of losses and griefs: accidental death, suicide, cancer, and dementia.
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