“What is grief, if not love persevering?”
– The Vision, WandaVision
Episode 8, “Previously On”
This quote comes from a moment where Wanda is mourning a devastating loss. It’s not the first such loss she has suffered, and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last, either. But this one hits her so hard that she doesn’t know if she can ever be happy again, what with all the pain in her heart and soul. Her new friend, the Vision, comes to comfort her and lift her up, however he might, and it’s these words which get through to her, helping her begin to heal. They also help her later, when she is once again hurting with sorrow.
What Vision points out is that these feelings of grief exist because love exists. One who has never felt such grief has never endured any real loss. That can only be if one is very young, that they simply haven’t experienced it yet, or if they somehow have not loved, which, there are fortunately very few souls twisted and barren enough for that. Thus, for a normal person, living a normal life, grief is, in its way, proof that we have known joy. It is proof that we have loved and been loved, and what is life without love?
Some would say that it might be better, easier, for us if we didn’t love anything enough to feel grief over it. They would say it’s empowering to simply enjoy things in the moment, to take and use whatever suits our fancy, and then feel nothing as we discard them. But that is an empty life, just going through certain motions without ever gaining anything lasting for it. One might as well try to quench one’s thirst by going through the motion of drinking from a cup without ever filling it, as try to get anything meaningful out of life while trying to avoid the love the gives life its meaning.
Better to pay the price of pain than to live a life without love.
Let me just mention here that love is also a force of hope. If we have loved and been loved before, then that is proof, we can have that again, no matter how bleak it might sometimes seem for us. Grief can sometimes be overwhelming, as depression bears down on us with its unfathomable weight, pulling us so far under the waves of sorrow that we lose sight of the light above and drown. It is easy to believe that what we have lost, we can never have again. It is natural and easy to want to find some way, any way, to end it. To get some sort of suspension of our pain, some surcease of sorrow, some… final conclusion to it. But the love we lose, the very thing which causes our grief, is also what can heal it.
The end of our grief is not found in shutting down, but in continuing to love despite our loss.
After all, if grief is love persevering, then so is the healing of our pain, at least to the point that we can keep on living, and loving, and laughing.
If grief is love persevering, then it makes all the sense in the world, to me, at least, that it perseveres even through the grief itself.