Benjamin and Thoreau have a notion — strange as this sounds — of impersonal mourning. Branka Arsic reports this (See link below).
But isn’t mourning the epitome of personal unburdening and self-exposure? How can it be impersonal?
Perhaps grieving as a personal response threatens to ‘be about me’ and my pain, rather than being absorbed in the person or thing whose loss is mourned. And perhaps the person or thing mourned should be cast as just one of an infinite number of animate and inanimate things lost and decaying through infinite expanses of time and space.
To call grief or mourning “impersonal” focuses the field of mourning as the continuous passing-into-death of all nature, and focuses the field of mourners as any in the process of passing-into-death — even birds and swaying trees can be said to weep and mourn (as well as sing their delight and shout for joy). By expanding the extend of things-mourning my particular mourning is less aggrieved and full of angst and self-indulgent — more like the mixed feelings I have at sublime events, witness to destruction and vitality, hand in hand. The decay of leaves and flesh replenish fields of spring poppies.