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Posts from the ‘Grief’ Category

Megaphone of Love

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”― C.S. Lewis

“Back on the caregiving roller coaster, I struggled to remember the lesson I had just learned so painfully with Mom: the end of caregiving isn’t freedom. The end of caregiving is grief.”― Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss

A friend’s Mom passed away yesterday.
Another friend’s Mom in July.
Mine in March.
Others a few years ago, some decades.
Grief is both individual and communal.
Same and different.
Fresh and lingering.
Deeper than platitudes.
Beyond the words of a Hallmark card.
Not a process but a winding, rocky, sometimes beautiful journey.
A bi-polar SOB.
Depths and heights.
Laughter and tears.
Drops and waves.
Never over, merely changing its form.
Do not go around it, avoid, or run from it.
Right through the middle.
Loss is overwhelming and always overcome by love.
Friends and family, show up.
Not just in the beginning, but months later too.
Simply be there and available.
Don’t assume, always ask and listen.
Actions over words.
Peace, love, light on this journey friend.
Love walks beside you softly, quietly, fiercely.

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

At the Same Time and More

“I don’t want to sit like a brooding hen on the nest of my past achievements. I want to keep on going deep into the uncertain act of making, to see the unknown world stretch out before me and to devote myself to exploring it.”― Katherine May, Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”― Rumi

We can hold grief and gratitude at the same time.
Not one or the other but both and more. And more.
There’s always more right in front of us.
Give yourself permission to experience and move through both and all.
Rough and smooth patches. Usually a mix.
With hope, faith, devotion and more hope.
Changing, evolving with time, space and distance.
Joy, hope, resilience, grace, laughter, peace.
Doing their work in us and through us.
We have the capacity and calling to love deeper and louder.
Find contentment wherever you are.
There are no rules or 10 easy steps.
Not alone, keep walking this sacred ground.
Rooted in the present, moving forward a step at a time.

“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”― William Stafford

Dancing with a Limp

“But those who are able to distinguish between a range of various emotions “do much, much better at managing the ups and downs of ordinary existence than those who see everything in black and white.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart

“You’ll lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold—but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott

This quote from Anne Lamott came in a weekly email from Grief Compass, a wonderful resource that has been helpful and free from platitudes, shoulds, processes/rules, black and white and move on already. Loss not only comes with death of a family member or friend. It comes from a change/loss of a job, a divorce, retirement, the kids leaving home, a 3 year pandemic, shifting relationships, disappointments woven through life.

All walk paths of grief. Each differently. Some avoiding, looking for the bypass. Some going through, right up the middle. Most a mix of it all. No one skipped or bypassed. This is where empathy, compassion and self-care come in to sit with us. And also, how we learn to dance again with a limp. Ever changed, different, broken open and moving back into the current of life, then back on the shore and then back in the river yet again.

If you are on the front-end of this journey, you are not alone. Sit with it, nothing to solve or fix. Reach out, find someone who will listen and sit with you. Grief is the cost of love. I would rather pay the price than to not love deeply and imperfectly. Love well today and dance, especially with a limp.

“This is one reason we need to dispel the myth that empathy is “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences.”― Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart

A Mystery to Be Honored

“Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn’t mean needing someone to try to lessen it or reframe it for them. The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.” Robert Neimeyer

“It’s that intention of fixing, of curing, of going back to “normal” that messes with everything. It stops conversation, it stops growth, it stops connection, it stops intimacy. Honestly, if we just changed our orientation to grief as a problem to be solved and instead see it as a mystery to be honored, a lot of our language of support could stay the same.”— Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

Seven years ago today, my Dad passed away from a fall.
I was on a plane from a work trip and didn’t make it back in time.
Life stopped on a dime and then moved rapidly to reality.
We jumped in to take care of Mom.
And Mom took care of us too.
We took care of each other.
Two years ago, Mom was accidentally diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
With each passing month, we kept thinking, this might be it.
When would it catch up with her?
Anticipatory grief before the grief of actual death.
She passed on March 7 this year.
Sudden or prolonged, it’s different and it’s loss.
Grief is grief and it’s different for each person and for each person that they grieve for and about.
Whether fresh, 7 years, or 20 years or more, loss, the hole remains along side the love, gratitude, grace and memories.
We dip our toes and then re-enter the flow of life again.
Different and carrying it forward.
Threads of joy, laughter and beauty weave through each day if we allow.
Whether you are in the midst of fresh and/or lingering grief, you are held, loved and seen.
Nothing to solve or fix.
No silver lining.
Walking along side is enough.
A mystery to be honored.
Both life and death.
Live and love well.

“The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside. There is pain in this world that you can’t be cheered out of. You don’t need solutions. You don’t need to move on from your grief. You need someone to see your grief, to acknowledge it. Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

Each Day As It Comes

“Grief is visceral, not reasonable: the howling at the center of grief is raw and real. It is love in its most wild form.”― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

“Joy is oxygen for doing hard things.” – Gary Haugen

Not over “it.”
Never will be.
It will change, morph, transform or not.
Rising and falling with the day, in moments.
Taking on an unpredictable life of its own, no preparation or planning.
Platitudes become hollower with time and repetition.
Dogs get it, thank God they don’t talk and just gaze, reside next and with.
Take the good days at face value.
Let joy, laughter and delight enter too.
No questions asked.
No analyzing, counting, comparing, measuring, assessing.
Some things will never be resolved, gotten over, fixed, ever in a lifetime.
It will change though, with time.
These are the people, places, things that went deep, touched our soul, and mattered most.
We don’t want to ever get “over” these things.
This is love.
Just quietly sitting, resting, waiting, wandering, no solving.
Listen more, talk less, choose carefully.
Silent presence is more than enough, witnessing.
So remember, you are not alone in what you carry.
Find your person, maybe two, reach out.
Carry and be carried.
Hold and be held.

“True comfort in grief is in acknowledging the pain, not in trying to make it go away. Companionship, not correction, is the way forward.”― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

Shed the Nonessential

“No one is so advanced in prayer that they do not have to return to the beginning.— St. Teresa of Avila

“the only way to survive the storms of the world is to shed all that is not essential, …the only way to survive inner storms is to let everything through.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity

Some will run.
Some will stay.
Some will wait.
Some will not.
No rules or regulations.
No counting or keeping track.
Gratitude and reverence for those who remain, reside, wait.
The journey is individual first.
Communal and universal next.
No map, signposts, or markers, nothing exact, predictable or precise.
One step at a time journey, each day new.
Grief is not a “fun” topic but each will go through it many times in a lifetime.
Called to be here now.
Awake and aware.
Writing and sharing is a vulnerable space.
Honesty is my only response.
Perhaps, it could be a gift, a foretelling, an invitation to communion, community, belonging.
Be present to the gifts that you are steeped in right now.
Life is both slow and fast.
Before to after in a beat.
Shed the nonessential.
Grief does not reside alone though.
Laughter, memories, tears, wonder, joy all woven through.
No shortcuts or bypasses, right up the middle.
Unfolding a step at a time.
Underlayment, grounded in hope, love and grace.
Cast light, especially now, when it means even more.
Unlacing and weaving something new.
In due time, a step at a time too.

“The great moments of living reside, not in banishing what goes wrong, but in unlacing trouble and weaving tapestries with the laces.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity

An Anchor Dropped

“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.”― Joan Chittister

“Hope is an anchor dropped into the future. We feel you pulling us toward it once again.” – Kate Bowler, Jessica Richie, The Lives We Actually Have

I saw the sun yesterday.
I noticed it, pausing a moment.
An altar.
An upward anchor, a kite, a grounding.
The little things are enough, overflowing actually.
At our feet, surrounding us, holding us.
In words, but mostly in silence, in sheer presence.
In waiting, watching, witnessing.
Winter rain through the night.
Hastening the melting of deep snow, softening of earth, precursor to green.
Notice. Awe. Wonder.
Grace enters and sits right beside you on one side, hope on the other.
Love remains.
Holy. Sacred. Steady.

“Love is holy because it is like grace–the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

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