Grief is a Dancer

Grief is a dancer full of kinetic energy.

At first, the stranger shows up with a dance card at the most devastatingly inconvenient time. The dance card has your name written in every slot; you’d rather curl up or die. The dancer pulls you up with strong arms onto the floor, presses you like a rag doll to its sides, sways, swirls, and bends you back so far that you think you’ll never be able to right yourself again.

Grief feels like an uninvited and unwelcome partner at first, completely out of sync with your step. All you want is for the turbulence to be over.

The Grief Dance Changes

But something changes over time in the intervals of rest between all the rough movement. You look it in the eye and see something akin to the gaze of a dear friend you enjoy spending time with. You realize it wasn’t willfully trying to spin you off balance in the beginning, but rather working to stabilize you in the trauma.

Eventually, when called out onto the floor now, you go more willingly. Your legs have become stronger, your arms more trusting of its hold, your resistance not as fierce.

Grief is Your Partner

You still cry occasionally, but it’s more softly now, not in such raw, heaving jags. You lean your head against grief ’s chest, feeling its warmth as you move to its music, and you begin to enjoy being led.

Grief is a friend, a companion, the energy of love that never dies. It reminds us that the doors of loss are never shut, and that our loved ones come and go in spirit as easily as they did in body. It reminds us that one day we will find each other again and realize, perhaps, that we were never as far apart as we once imagined.

from Grief Is a Dancer by Alisa Bair

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Alisa Bair

ALISA BAIR received double undergraduate degrees in both Music Education and Music Therapy from East Carolina University. She completed her internship in music therapy at Philhaven Hospital and became board-certified before making a career pivot into motherhood and church music and the arts. While she and her husband raised their three daughters, she served a variety of churches for over 20 years before eventually uprooting to enter New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, from which she received her MFA.​ Her music and words have been published by Columbia Pictures Publications, CPP/Belwin, Hope Publishing, Heritage Music Press, Choristers Guild, Guideposts, Good Books (with foreign translations) and Walnut Street Books. She is the composer of the bi-lingual, one-act musical, Otro Planeta (Kristin Page Stuart, Bookwriter/Lyricist), and the full-length musical, Hello Sky (Dina Soraya Gregory, Co-Bookwriter/Lyricist), which had its five-day, sold-out premiere in 2010 with OperaLancaster in Pa. She is also librettist for The Lost Son, (Neal S. Harnly, composer), commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria, which enjoyed its world premiere in 2010 with the renowned Indianapolis Children’s Choir. She is a member of Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.

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