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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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Riffs on Grief

Those who grieve don’t need words of sympathy. They need hugs and our presence.

Compassion brings hope back into the struggle, for others and for ourselves.

When someone close to us dies, we’re no longer in a rush to go in life from Point A to Point Z. Getting to a final destination no longer matters. We aim to survive this day, and to live and love as best we can. 

The philosophy of Wabi-Sabi — Nothing lasts. Nothing is finished. Nothing is perfect.

Generally, the most help to someone who is grieving comes from those who have grieved, who know that there is nothing they can do to take away the pain, yet know that their presence helps them bear the pressing weight of sorrow.

Words are not neutral in grief. They bring life, are polite and bland, or they tear down. Either they make us rejoice that someone understands what we’re going through, or they make us shake our heads over their total lack of awareness.

Sufi – “When the heart grieves over what is lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.”

Half of the world believes in the strength and wonder of the individual. The other half believes in the strength and compassion of the community. Herein lies the problem when a grieving individual is not part of a community, or a community is so focused on goals that it no longer values the wellbeing of the individual.

We don’t know how people will react when we speak about grief. Some people fear that if we even mention Death’s name, this will invite Death to come near.

Pablo Neruda – “There is no space wider than grief.”

Do you ever want to punch Death? How about Cancer? What do you want to do to that?

In winter, the landscape of the northern hemisphere shifts from colorful paintings to charcoal sketches done in black, grays, and white. This can be hard on those who grieve because the longer nights of darkness carry their shadows further into the day.

Frida Kahlo - “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”