Grief – how do you process it?

“It’s difficult. Most people steer well clear of grief,” said Karen. “Yes, it feels like I’m in exile and its the best way to get complete solitude,”

Are you a coward around grief? Do you purposefully avoid those who have lost a loved one? Have you considered you might be missing the opportunity to get close to someone when they are the least guarded, most vulnerable and human.

Karen and I had just lost our mother’s. Me first. I was struggling more because I rarely saw my mum in the past 12 years. I was also trying to adjust culturally to living in Ireland again. Going from consistent California sunshine to a thick blanket of cloud for the past ten days was too much for me.

My curiousity around people’s response to the grieving process has been dialed up. I notice the unsolicited suggestions and advice. And how friends and Churchy folks quickly steer me towards grief recovery workshops even within two weeks of my mum’s death. The helpful, fixer types tend to promote an immediate routine of tasks or structure. Sometimes “help” is not that helpful and can be the sunny side of control.

I welcome loving compassionate presence. People who can just BE with you without expectation. Asking or expecting me to deny my feelings around loss is not such a good thing. It might even be a subtle form of violence.

Khalil Gibran describes loss as “Love knows not it’s own depth until the hour of separation.” Anger and pain over loss can tell us we’re alive inside. It’s a good teacher if we listen to it.  And anger beneath the loss is an energy that can be channeled to effect change. So be wary of those who want to facilitate a more deadening or tidy or controlled process. The grief cowards are out there. I see and feel the individual and collective avoidance of grief.

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