When I first began writing this blog nearly two years ago, I had a direction in mind. It was to write and share inspirational vignettes that would prompt you, the reader, to write. Then, for about three months, I blogged about the final years of my parents lives. Presently, I am allowing the blog to decide which direction it wants to go in next. At this time, I don’t want to assign a theme. Rather, I want to let the blog morph, to be a bit eclectic and finally to choose its own direction. When I paint intuitively, that is precisely how a piece evolves and settles on what it is going to be. So I guess this is an experiment of sorts.
Having not blogged for a couple of months has provided a much needed immersion into grieving. I have followed the breadcrumbs of grief to witness how I grieve. I have noted how I sit with irrevocable change. I participated in a two-month long grief group. I’ve felt the safe womb space that we were held in apart from the rest of the world. I noticed how we bonded into the commonness of the experience of losing a loved one(s). I experienced a feeling of family with relative strangers. At the end of each session, we hesitated to leave the little room where we met. This was without a doubt a safe place for each one of us to feel what we were feeling without masking it for the benefit of others. Sacred space and time apart.
Years ago, I remember being in the workplace. A fellow worker lost her husband suddenly. She was given three days off of work to make arrangements and to grieve this profound loss. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was to expect that she return to work without having that necessary time to grieve and comprehend the changes to her world. I considered that she was initially in shock. It takes awhile to sink into the recognition that things would never be as they once were. That he wouldn’t be coming home after work. That they wouldn’t discuss the education and challenges of rearing their four children or their future plans…all evaporated in a moment. I remember how she seemed to put on a mask for the benefit of her co-workers–was it heroic or something that she felt forced into–to pretend that she wasn’t a crumbling mess inside?
How do we educate ourselves and others on the significance of allowing grief into our lives? In some cultures, the mourner wears black for a year. When people in the community see this person, they understand, “Ah, he/she is in mourning.” They do not expect you to “Get over it” or “Put on a happy face.” Grief is recognized and honored as a tender time. In grief, there is a certain vulnerability that the mourner experiences. Sometimes you might want to hide away; other times you crave company. Often, you need to talk about the loved one or your feelings of loss. But only if you feel safe enough to do so.
That said, I can see how grief is a unique experience for any individual. How do you tend your losses? How do you grieve?
Your comments are welcome.