“It’s like all of a sudden a pair of glasses were strapped to my face. And I can’t take them off. Ever.”
Beanie Feldstein is a good friend.
You’ve seen her be one on screen in everything from Lady Bird to Neighbours 2, and she’s about to be one again in Booksmart. She’s the consummate cinematic BFF, the platonic ideal of a pal. And she’s also a great sister to both Jonah Hill, who has described her as his best friend, and their late brother Jordan Feldstein, the manager of Maroon 5 who tragically died in 2017 of a blood clot that started as deep vein thrombosis.
He was just 40, and he was survived by his wife and two children Joshua and Charlie.
Jordan’s death was shocking, and for the first time Beanie has spoken publicly about her grief in a new essay shared on her Instagram. Titled ‘Grief Glasses’, the piece explores Beanie’s struggle to reconcile with the permanence and pervasiveness of her mourning.
“Grief is just impossible,” Beanie writes. “It cannot be contained or summarised or enclosed. To describe the wound grief leaves if you have not experiences it is to come to it hazy and out of focus. But then there are those of us that unfortunately see grief in sharp, unrelenting focus.”
For Beanie, the loss of Jordan is “so unbearable at times, so unrelenting.” This is because she now sees the world through a pair of grief glasses that colour every experience and every interaction that she has. And she will never be able to take those glasses off.
“It’s like all of a sudden, a pair of glasses were strapped to my face,” Beanie writes. “And I can’t take them off. Ever. And these glasses make me see the world differently than I did before. The colours bleed together more vividly. But they are somehow more than they ever were before. More visceral. More vibrant. More present. Simultaneously more awe-inspiring and more aching.”
Beanie writes that she was not prepared for just how much grief would change her life. “This monumental shift in perspective,” she explains. “Not only does the world become so much deeper and more painful, but sometimes unbelievably alive with joy and gratitude.”
For Beanie, grief is equal parts an ache for the loss of her brother as well as a lesson in never taking anything for granted. For Beanie, both the negative and the positive sides of grief are now irrevocably linked. “These glasses that were forced upon me,” she writes, “grudgingly gave me the ability to see and appreciate a more intricate understanding this vast world we live in.”
This doesn’t mean she wouldn’t rather live without the grief glasses. Beanie adds that she would love to take them off and that she wishes she had never seen through them in the first place. But she can’t. Her perspective has forever altered. What she hopes to do now, and what she hopes all people who have suffered an immense loss do, is learn to see that grief comes with its own particular upside, too.
“While I wish I could rip my grief glasses off my face and have it all be a dream, I try to recognise what the glasses have given me,” Beanie concludes. “That unique blend of humanity that is simultaneously the darkest dark and the brightest bright.”