I’ve just finished reading Roland Barthes’ Mourning Diary, an enthralling collection of wee notes Barthes began to pen the day after his mother died in October 1977. It is a profound record of grief’s journey into suffering and into a deeper questioning of selfhood. Along the way, Barthes reflects on neurosis, solitude, immortality, annihilation, time, solitude, anonymity, monuments, materialism, prayer, friendship, and Ingrid Bergman. The book offers us one man’s raw reflections on an experience common to most – all? – of us, mourning and grief, borne witness to in these words:
‘We don’t forget,
but something vacant settles in us’.
– Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary: October 26, 1977–September 15, 1979 (trans. Richard Howard; New York: Hill and Wang, 2010), 227.