Dangerous Compassions

what to mourn

what to mourn

Hello, how are you doing?  I’ve been thinking about what to mourn.  Here’s a list of ideas if you need some alternatives to mourning what others are mourning.  I imagine a flower falling into a hole in the ground for each of these items listed.

what to mourn

Mourn your own childhood.  The good parts, the bad.  Mourn the freshness of being young, and all those firsts.

Mourn your ancestors, your loved ones who have died, pets who passed, the elders in your life who will soon depart.  You can do rituals, visit graves and sacred sites where ashes were scattered.  You can do volunteer work toward causes that were meaningful to them, donate funds to orgs that help the world.  Tell their stories in a blog post, poem, zine, or art you make.  Keep their values alive.

Mourn former neighbors, the places you used to live, restaurants and stores you liked that were demolished or changed ownership into something else.  The plants in the yard when you were little, where you first learned fuchsias, holly, calla lilies, jade plant, tadpoles.

Mourn the foods you can never eat again, because the person who made them for you is dead, and you can’t get the enchiladas or pie or stew just right.  Or you never even learned the recipe and never tried.

Mourn the foods your health or ethics will no longer allow you to eat.

Mourn the jobs you’ve lost, the chances that slipped away, a box of physical possessions that got lost during a move, anything you had that was stolen.

There was a pocket knife my dad gave me when I was a teenager, and I loved it.  When my backpack was stolen when I was in college, I lost that knife, which I remember.


Mourn the loss of your illusions.  If you liked any of your illusions, maybe you miss them.  I used to believe that I would grow up, get a job, get married, and live a boring life.  Sometimes I wonder if that boring life is happening in another dimension somewhere.  This life is exhaustingly exciting!

Mourn the loss of the planet as it was when you were born.  Climate change / climate chaos means we’re losing so much.  Organisms, comforts, familiar weather patterns, icebergs, glaciers, belief in a future where our planet that can be inhabited by humans.

I used to think I might get old.  Now I feel pretty sure it’s curtains for humans before then.

Mourn the loss of a world before Roundup, before GMOs and copyrighted seeds, before capitalism had won this much.  Mourn old growth forests and all of their special species.  Treatments for illness we’ll never find because the organism is extinct now.

Mourn clean water, clean air.  Mourn a time before oil was this valuable and ripping up the ground with mining and fracking made sense to anyone.


Mourn the death of a monarch, like a monarch butterfly.  So sad, when they go.  My friends grow milkweed to try to nourish the monarchs, both a native milkweed and some other kind that has flowers that humans tend to find more desirable.  Thank you, gardener friends who skillfully love the pollinators and other beautiful creatures.

Mourn the people you lost when you learned how to say no, value your own voice, and protect your own well-being.  Because everything is mixed up together, you lost things you needed, when you said no to people, orgs, and systems who overly hurt you.

If you’re abusive and harmful to people with less power than you, mourn the loss of all the people you hurt, who fled your bad behavior.  Yes, there’s so much you’ve lost, by lashing harshly, attacking people physically or with words, centering your own violence, prioritizing your selfish misreadings of others that keep you blameless and perfect despite the exodus from your life of people who you’ve abused.


Mourn the communities you could have lived in if your worth had been recognized and valued.  What good you could have done there, if your words had mattered and your body was seen as worthy and valid.

Mourn the persons you could have been if adults had noticed your science, art, building, language, or earth care skills, considered those life paths valuable, and helped you find your way.

Mourn yourself and how you’ll be missed when you die. How your family will feel, how your friends and enemies will feel, and your projects will be abandoned.


Some people misread me as being very positive.  I do gratitude journal, enjoy life, seek God through pleasure, and like to laugh.

But I’m a deeply realistic person.  I need to feel all my feelings.  This list of what to mourn is a good example of how I’m realistic.  Thank you for enjoying me as I actually am.

You can download a free butterfly poster here.

what to mourn

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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