The Intersection of Grief & Magic

An uncommon idea, for sure.

Kate Ward


“closeup photo of castle with mist” by Cederic X on Unsplash

There’s no way to “hack” grief.

You can’t skip from step one to step seven (if there are steps that characterize this thing). You just have to go through it. What that will entail for you, I’m not sure. But if you choose to ignore this warning, I promise you — it’ll be just like a boomerang. Not the cheap kind you buy at Walmart either, the expensive kind that comes back to you no matter how hard you throw it.

The human mind rejects this notion (mine did, fa sho). We think we can bury the pain so deep in our psyches and bodies that it’ll disappear forever. It’s a great strategy, one that we are pretty pleased with ourselves for. Like magicians, we can make grief go: POOF!

But this is also a great tragedy.

First, because like with terrible living room magicians practicing their first set, the audience saw the whole thing. Your grief didn’t disappear; it just relocated. Your parents clap anyways. You feel proud; they feel bad for you. It’s a whole thing.

Second, because trying to make grief disappear kind of defeats the whole purpose. Yes, you heard me right: purpose. There’s a purpose in grief. A philosophical kind of purpose that you have to dig for. Like an adventurer searching for buried treasure if adventurers searched for treasure in a morgue.

That was too soon, too gross. I’m sorry. Cue: swift subject change.

I’ve always believed in magic.

I’m the oldest of three kids, nine years older than my youngest brother. And so, as a pseudo-Christian youth, it was my job to keep the-Santa-isn’t-real secret from both of my brothers. If my memory serves me right, I pretended to believe in Him for another whole decade after my friend Ben told me, “YOU DUMMY. HE ISN’T REAL.”

My little heart broke when I heard those words. Santa wasn’t real? Punch to the gut. Say it isn’t so.

One of the great things about having two much younger little siblings (there are few, S & J) is that you get to keep getting presents from Santa even when you don’t believe in Him anymore. The even better part of this is that you get to continue believing (and…



Kate Ward

Thinking deeply about how to make myself and the world a little better. & writing about creators mostly | email: