London’s Albert Memorial: Grief as Religion

A fuller view of the Albert Memorial in London

We approached the Albert Memorial unknowing, towing my recently rescued bag on a scenic walk through Kensington Gardens. I was tired and relieved, and so I didn’t see signs for the memorial before I saw it beginning to tower above the trees before us. I wondered what saint or martyr or other person fallen in defense of the common good it commemorated.

But it wasn’t a glory to god or a representative. Instead, it was an expression of grief.

Part of the Albert Memorial in London

What is it like to have a larger part of the riches of the world available to make your grief solid? How is your grief shaped if your every dictate must be heard and obeyed?

Part of the Albert Memorial in London

Queen Victoria’s legacy suggests it doesn’t help it digest. The memorial was 14 years in the making.

London's Albert Memorial from behindBut if you could write large the greatest hurt of your life, with a dominating part of the earth’s resources behind you, can you say for sure that you wouldn’t? If you could make your love a permanent, towering part of the landscape of one of the most famous parks on earth, would you be able to resist?

I bear my hurts quietly, but I can’t say no.