Courtesy of | Photograph by Paul Fusco / Magnum | Originally Published 02.23.2020 | 05.17.2020

Grief is a universal and inevitable emotion in any life, and yet it is mysterious and various in its forms. This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces on the nature of loss. In “Story’s End,” Meghan O’Rourke reflects on her relationship with her mother and recounts how she gathered stories of her mother’s life and, through them, came to know her even more deeply after her death. In “Now We Are Five,” David Sedaris writes about his large, eclectic family and recalls the death of his sister. Kathryn Schulz examines the absence she feels in the wake of her father’s death, and Ariel Levy chronicles a heartbreaking loss that she suffers during a trip to Mongolia. Finally, Jill Lepore explores the inner life of her best friend, who died from leukemia, leaving her laptop to Lepore in her will. Taken together, these pieces demonstrate the scope and range of our ability to find grace and empathy in the face of loss.

—David Remnick

Story’s End

Meghan ORourke at age seven
Photograph Courtesy O’Rourke Family

Writing a mother’s death.

Now We Are Five

Gretchen Lisa David Tiffany Paul and Amy Sedaris

A big family, at the beach.

The Lingering of Loss

My best friend left her laptop to me in her will. Twenty years later, I turned it on and began my inquest.

When Things Go Missing

An illustration of a hand reaching into the lost  found
Illustration by Bianca Bagnarelli

Reflections on two seasons of loss.

Thanksgiving in Mongolia

Adventure and heartbreak at the edge of the earth.

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