Part of me still believes grief has an ending. I’m still caught off-guard by haunted dreams or disorienting moments of longing for the ones I’ve lost.

Sometimes I find comfort in a two-thousand-year-old myth about a Chinese emperor. Unable to bear the death of his beloved, Emperor Wu offered a reward to anyone who could bring her back to him. A wise man carefully cut out a silhouette of the departed woman from a piece of paper and displayed it behind a white cloth for the grieving emperor, who found comfort in the sight of her standing behind a curtain before a shining moon. This story from the Han dynasty not only describes the origin of shadow puppets, it’s a reminder that art can mitigate grief and perhaps even deny death.