Death is the one thing we can all be sure we’ll experience, and yet, in our death denying culture, we treat it like a disaster we might avoid if we’re lucky. This often leads us to be inadequately prepared at the end of our lives or when a loved one dies. We push the idea of death away with everything we’ve got, but it comes anyway.
Like death, grief happens to everyone, and not just when loved ones die. We lose lots of things that cause us grief. Jobs, relationships, abilities, homes, times of our lives, parts of ourselves. Grief is there with us, from birth to death. It's the mechanism that allows us to metabolize loss, and while it's useful, it's also intense. It sits in our middle, like a great boulder - heavy, hot, sharp and exquisitely uncomfortable. Often, our automatic response to grief is to ignore it, hoping that before long, it will disappear. But grief has a way of hanging around. It’s a process that needs to be addressed actively, tenderly, intentionally. Ignored grief may go numb, but that numbness ends up stealing our joy as well as our pain.
I believe that it is the extent to which we can work with the truth of grief that determines how gracefully we are able to live. It’s natural for us to want to get control of our circumstances and keep things fixed, but nature just doesn’t work like that. All things in nature are born, grow, decay and die. We humans are no exception, no matter how much we wish we were. So how can we begin to relax into this truth? How can we find peace in this groundless reality?
When we tend to grief, it softens into something way more manageable. And when we integrate this softened grief into ourselves, we create wisdom and compassion where before, there was fear and dread. When we work with our grief lovingly, we expand our hearts and minds. It is my highest goal and honor to accompany grievers along this path of transformation.