No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. –C.S. Lewis from A Grief Observed
One of the worst things about grieving is that life still keeps happening all around us. Our personal world has been altered forever, but flowers keep growing, the earth keeps turning, babies are getting born and we are still in a place that no one else can see.
I don’t care if it’s been three days or three years, the death of our other half is sometimes fresh and painful and sudden as a bee sting. Or being hurled by the riptide and undertow only to come out gasping and stinging with sand and stones and shells.
So we go on. But that place of loss changes. We are faced with it and don’t know what to do with it because all we want is for the pain to stop. But there is no rewind on life. Things will never be the same. We have to get used to that.
It doesn’t means life will always be awful though. Lisa Irish has a beautiful book called Grieving–The Sacred Art: Hope in the Land of Loss. She explains “conscious grieving” as an alternative to floundering around by ourselves in our own grief as if we have no control. But we do. The book goes through stages of conscious grieving, complete with tangible exercises to help us along the way. These “Promptings of Hope” are not religious dogma or new age nonsense; they are practical, tender ways to make it through grief with yourself as an active participant.
It is by no means an easy process, but as Irish states:
“Grief is not to be avoided but learned from. It is not a symptom of brokenness but a pathway towards transformation. … Grief’s tears return us to the truth of who we are… our most vulnerable authentic self.”
I am still figuring out who my “authentic self” is without Kent, but there is always so much to learn… .
I first met Lisa Irish at the International Women’s Writing Guild Summer Conference.
This is an annual event that is first to go on my calendar. Everything else must orbit around the Summer Conference.
There is a home for grieving and transformation here. Now, technology has made it possible to stay connected to the incredible, brave, soul-bearing women of the guild. They are my sisters.
If we can stretch out amongst our many selves and listen, we may find a new tune. No need to rewind.