Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Beyond Food and Shelter


Two of my essays appeared today. Modern Loss published an account of my first Valentine’s Day after my wife died. http://modernloss.com/day-lovers-without-mine/

Open to Hope published an essay about the Refuge in Grief support community. It also includes an overview of grief resources. http://www.opentohope.com/the-fierce-tribe-of-after-grief-with-attitude/



"As the arts inspire creativity in each of us individually, they breathe life into our communities."            Julia Garnett

Two events five years ago this week remind me that there is more to life than having a roof over your head and enough food to eat. As crucial as they are, they aren’t enough. It also reminds me how we, who are normally self-centered, rally for our communities when disaster strikes.

An earthquake in Haiti devastated much of that country, broke its infrastructure, and left thousands homeless. A week later, while most of the musicians of the Haitian Youth Orchestra were either dead or missing, the fifteen that survived set their own grief aside and played a concert to help raise the spirits of their community. People smiled and danced a little. They felt their hearts stir and knew that their music had not died, too.

Five years after all the devastation and deaths of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans celebrated its first Super Bowl win. What was thought unimaginable had become reality, and that community’s spirit soared.

With grief, as with the people in Haiti and New Orleans, it doesn’t help to be told that in ten years we will be happy again. Although we want this, it doesn’t change our reality by dreaming about something miraculous happening to fix our sorrow. What we need is to feel hope in something concrete, something we can see today, something we can do. This kind of hope keeps us going each day when it feels like everything else has been taken away. 

If we believe in ourselves, if we let others help us, and if we can see a little progress each day, then all things become possible. We need more than food, shelter, and clothing. We need inspiration to not give up when the darkness of despair and sorrow descend. Dream your dreams, but do the hard work to get there.

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