Who I am.

I write about the landscape of grief, nature, and the wisdom of fools. The author of four books, my essays, poems, and reviews have been published in over 50 journals, including in the Huffington Post and Colorado Review. I’ve won the River Teeth Nonfiction Book Award, the Chautauqua and Literal Latte’s essay prizes, and my work has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and named a notable by Best American Essays. My account of hiking in Yosemite to deal with my wife’s death, Mountains of Light, was published by the University of Nebraska Press. http://www.markliebenow.com.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Grief is Everywhere, And Yet ...

Grief is the older woman who lost her husband twenty years ago. It’s the man who lost himself working eighty-hour weeks after his daughter died. It’s the young mother who lost a stillborn child. It’s the boy who grew up with one parent. It’s the death of a beloved pet.

Grief is the tree when its leaves turn yellow and fall off. It’s the river that no longer flows free because it’s been dammed for irrigation.

 * If you would like to read the rest of this post, let me know and I’ll send it to you. *

When we’re grieving, food doesn’t taste like much. My essay at the Citron Review.


  1. I am very thankful for your willingness to share, Mark. I really needed to read that today. Helped lift my spirits. Thanks.

  2. Grief is the "black sheep of the family." He shows up at my door, uninvited and drunk, at the most inconvenient times, usually in the middle of the night. Politely, I try to convince him to leave, but next thing I know he's passing by me and plopping himself down on my couch.

    He smells. No, he stinks! The smell of his burps makes me nauseous. By golly! I've just given the living-room a good cleaning and there he is, sweaty, drunk, filthy, on my couch. Ughh. Not him again! He used to live with me twenty-four-seven a few years ago, but eventually I kicked him to the curb. He still shows up now and then, though. He makes me wonder why I have to have a family member like that, why my family can't just be normal.

    As I come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to get rid of him tonight, I try to get in touch with compassionate side. I mean, it must be hard to be Grief... Unwanted, unloved. I nurture him a bit. Talk to him. Where have you been? How are things going? And such. I cook him some food. As he sobers up, he shares a bit of wisdom from his journey. I prepare the guest room for him and he goes to bed. When I check on him in the morning, he's gone.

    1. I like this, Cadi! Grief as a person with moods, behaviors, and wisdom.