7 Years

Today is the seventh anniversary of my mother’s death.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com
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Monday Meditation: Rest.

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” -Ovid

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

-Ovid

A holiday shrouded in grief can range from tiring to exhausting.

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Monday Meditation: Sacred Tears

“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

-Washington Irving

This will be a difficult week for many. Supporters may encourage grievers to perk up because it is a holiday week, to be “merry and bright.” There is little merriment or brightness when we miss someone. Celebrations accentuate the absence of loved ones in the sharpest way.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2021

My gift list is a bit late, I realize. In truth, because grief is 24/7/365, when you give a gift to a griever or when you (as a griever) buy yourself a self-care present is somewhat irrelevant. This guide is for both grief supporters and grievers.

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Monday Medtation: Every Day, Grief

Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.

-C.S. Lewis

The holiday season from Thanksgiving through the new year is fraught with emotional turmoil–sometimes ripples, sometimes earthquakes. This season seems to be one of the times when grievers are constantly beaten up with reminders of what we are grieving. Ads and commercials reminding us to buy gifts for everyone on our lists and have a holly, jolly time are endless slaps in the face for what we don’t get to do anymore and who we no longer get to do it with. Our society ignores the fact that holidays can be reminders of sadness and pain.

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Monday Mediation: Start Simply.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

-Arthur Ashe

A pitfall of life is getting caught up in the race to be more, be ahead of the game, be pushing for the next whatever, be comparing ourselves to the past…essentially occupying any moment other than the present.

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Monday Meditation: Tend the Grief Garden

“I always see gardening as an escape, as peace really. If you are angry or troubled, nothing provides the same solace as nurturing the soil.” 

-Monty Don

The work of healing grief can be like growing a garden. Plants and flowers need water, sunlight, and plenty of weeding to grow and thrive.

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All Souls Day Meditation

November 2 is All Souls Day or the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), recognized primarily (though not only) in Mexico where it originated, is celebrated October 31 through November 2. November 2 is a day on which  Catholics pray that their deceased loved ones and all of those who have been lost rest in peace.

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Monday Meditation: Value & Self-Worth

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible–the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.”

-Virginia Satir

One aspect that may be missing from the grief experience is a feeling of being valued as a person who is grieving. Outsiders (society in general and grief supporters in particular) may forget that part of their job is to make grievers feel worthy. Most often any misstep or differences or miscommunication is treated as a reason to criticize and judge the griever, to prove how poorly the griever is doing their job of grieving, to prove that the griever has a “problem” and is broken.

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Monday Meditation: An Act of Creation

“The first thing I tried to do in the months after losing my mother was to write a poem. I found myself turning to poetry in the way so many people do–to make sense of losses. And I wrote pretty bad poems about it. But I did feel that the poem was the only place that could hold this grief.”

-Natasha Tretheway

We have been socially conditioned to see grief as something destructive and, by consequence, something to be feared. In seeing only destruction in loss, we are prevented from seeing in grief the power of creation. Destruction and creation are not opposing forces, they are the flip sides of the same coin.

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Sunday Meditation: “Supermarket Flowers” (Ed Sheeran)

Hallelujah

You were an angel in the shape of my mum

You got to see the person I have become

Spread your wings and I know

That when God took you back he said Hallelujah

You’re home

-Ed Sheeran, “Supermarket Flowers”

Ed Sheeran wrote “Supermarket Flowers” following the death of his grandmother. The song, written in the first person, reflects the perspective of Sheeran’s mother. I’ve posted his live version of the song below.

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Monday Meditation: To Move Forward, Act

“Never mistake motion for action.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Grievers are often encouraged to “move forward” after a loss. Such societal pressure may leave grievers feeling stalled and stuck if they don’t “move forward” quickly and surely. The result can be a sense of hopelessness, depression, or anxiety that takes root in the griever’s life.

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Monday Meditation: Strength in Vulnerability

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong in the broken places.”

Ernest Hemingway

Two of the greatest fallacies regarding brokenness, I think, are:

  • No one gets broken/hurt by the world–life is always perfect and fair
  • If we admit to being broken, we are weak–there is nothing to be gained from being broken or healing from that brokenness.

Both are bull.

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Monday Meditation: Make Room for the Funny

“Sometimes in the most tragic situation, something just profoundly funny happens.”

-David Hyde Pierce

There really isn’t anything funny about grieving…at first glance. In truth, however, life is absurd in all contexts, including loss.

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Meditation Monday: The Hole of Love

“Love is a hole in the heart.”

-Ben Hecht

We often think of love as something that fulfills us. We love friends, we love family, we love children, we love significant others, we love ourselves. We can even love inanimate objects or experiences. Whatever it is that we love, we assume that love will give us warmth and support for the rest of our days. Then there is grief….

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