What is the form for mourning? For a loved one, a pet, a president. A dead project. Bad grades. Tornadoes. Murder and suicide. The Mets.
There is no form for mourning. Mourning, likes death, is an ongoing conversation. We put forms in front of our mourning as a means of displaying it. Solace, quilted boxes, a yearly trek w/bouquet. Nothing wrong with that. I have no patience (okay, I have some patience...) with people who criticize the trappings of mourning, as if to pierce the veil and reveal terrible truths. How stupid (maybe not too much patience after all).
Mourning is real, the forms of mourning "more real." That is not hypocrisy, it is art. The quilted lining to the mahogany-style casket is not a waste, but one part of a musical score, the constant music of seeing and making. I for one see no art or "truth" in tossing bodies into a fire like so many ruined gloves (huh?)
To the point, I mourn the death of JFK. That is nothing new. Any time I think about his death I mourn. It can be enough to take me right out of a productive day. I think of JFK then and what we might have said in the ensuing years - and so I think of Bobbie, and Martin - and pretty quickly I am bit of a basket case, at least until tomorrow.
That is to say, I mourn. I do not worry about the mourning or the forms that attend the mourning, mine or others' mourning. I do not debate the flame at the grave. I hope to visit it someday and pray the Rosary for the repose of his soul and Bobbie's. That too is a kind of form, a form one places in front of oneself as a means of being. Being after all is not the thought of being, but the impartial and active participant in history which is being having become. Am I the only one who did the reading?
Anyway, I am happy to mourn. Among other pleasant effects it helps to show that I am alive to loss, which is a great gift after all. I hope never to abandon my appreciation for death, loss, and the forms we use to place our feelings in context, for all to share.