grief support for others
by Isadora Duncan 2 minute read
page 292. Copyright 1927 by publishers Boni & Liveright, Inc.; Copyright renewed 1955 by Liverright Publishing Corporation.
Renowned American dancer, Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) lost her young son and daughter in a freak car accident. In her grief, she fled to the villa of her friend Eleanora Duse who had also suffered tragic losses. This short passage describes the compassion of a true friend who understands how to companions a mourning mother in her deepest grief with extraordinary tenderness and generosity:
The next morning I drove out to see Duse, who was living in a rose-colored villa behind a vineyard. She came down a vine-covered walk to meet me, like a glorious angel. She took me in her arms and her wonderful eyes beamed upon me such love and tenderness that I felt just as Dante must have felt when, in the “Paradiso,” he encounters the Divine Beatrice.
From then on I lived at Viareggio, finding courage from the radiance of Eleanor’s eyes. She used to rock me in her arms, consoling my pain, but not only consoling for she seemed to take my sorrow to her own breast, and I realized that if I had not been able to bear the society of other people, it was because they all played the comedy of trying to cheer me with forgetfulness. Whereas Eleanora said:
“Tell me about Deirdre and Patrick,” and made me repeat to her all the little sayings and ways, and show her their photos, which she kissed and cried over. She never said, “Cease to grieve,” but she grieved with me, and for the first time since their death, I felt I was not alone.