Mourning Diary

Roland Barthes scribbled notes detailing the shades of his despair after his mother died, collected into this mourning diary. It is an especially helpful meditation for anyone in the throes of grief, grieving. Tiny snippets take no more of your brain than you can give, just an idea, a feeling, a sentence.

Over a year after the death, “we don’t forget, but something vacant settles in us.” More immediate are the raw emotions, racking himself with pain by remembering her calling out to him. “I have known the body of my mother, sick and then dying.”

Two days after her death, “as soon as someone dies, frenzied construction of the future (shifting furniture, etc.): futuromania.” He roots out the measurement of morning according to a book: “eighteen months for mourning a father, a mother.”

“I know now that my mourning will be chaotic.”

“What I find utterly terrifying is mourning’s discontinuous character.”

“Each of us has his own rhythm of suffering.”

On abandonment:

  • Everyone is extremely nice—and yet I feel entirely alone. (‘Abandonitis’)
  • Everything pains me. The merest trifle rouses a sense of abandonment. I’m impatient with other people, their will to live, their universe. Attracted by a decision to withdraw from everyone.

“Like love, mourning affects the world—and the worldly—with unreality, with importunity. I resist the world, I suffer from what it demands of me, from its demands. The world increases my sadness, my dryness, my confusion, my irritation, etc. The world depresses me.”

“… maman is no longer here and life, stupid life, continues.”