Surviving Grief

Posted by Eliza, February 25th, 2015

In New England, as you’ve undoubtedly heard, over one hundred inches of snow and ice trap us in, oh so many ways! Our plaints – or rants- about the unusually harsh weather, remind me that when overwhelmed by nature, we experience loss: of independence, of material well-being, of freedoms, of human contact, of control over how we spend our time (Shoveling, chiseling icicles!), of peace of mind (What next?), and more. Many of us are feeling feel aggrieved, as seen in expressions of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.

Despite the weather this past month, a hearty band of congregants from a local church met three times for what turned out to be a MOST appropriately titled workshop, “Making Light in the Darkness.” In timeless fashion, we honored the darkness within and without with candle light, storytelling, and sharing our successes as well as our stumblings. We tried different forms of spiritual practice, including Laugh Yoga – yes, it’s a real thing, Google it! Simply being together helped us regain our perspective and our hope.

By the third session, we trusted one another enough that we tackled sharing something intimate: we were asked to share when we fell in love with something (place, person, animal, etc.). Sitting in a dim, warm room on one of the coldest nights, we sat and wrote, remembering. Faces reflected puzzlement, joy, rue, and surprise. And we told our stories, full of love and passion, sadness and shyness, all kinds of feelings emerged and were witnessed quietly, tenderly. I won’t ever forget the power of that small circle to shatter our aloneness, our depression, our fear. This is what I offer those of you who are grieving: make time and space for sadness; reach out to compassionate folks; share your stories, memories, loves. And then let time, blessed time, do its healing work.

As we move toward spring, we’ll learn again that in reaching out to one another, supporting one another in ways large and small, and in letting go of some expectations we will gain meaning and depth: we may reach that final stage of grief – acceptance. Or a more meaningful and interconnected lifestyle. Or simply an awareness that we are indeed all in the same ice-bound boat. May we together breathe in peace, and breathe out love.
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