Posted by: wordofthevine | November 3, 2017

A Brief Sharing of the Grief Journey

Working as a chaplain for Hospice, I often walk alongside people who are grieving. Consequently, I have become aware how important it is for all of us to go into our pain, otherwise it is so easy to want to run away from grief ourselves. In North America, it seems we avoid authentically living our losses and learning what the pain is trying to teach us. We don’t understand that suffering for all of us can deepen us and help us form wisdom in living and, most importantly in loving. Many experts in grieving caution us, that in trying to keep a “stiff upper lip” in the face of the death of someone special to us, or just trying to avoid it by staying busy, we stand the risk of blunting our “divine spark.” We have to let ourselves enter into and feel the pain that comes from losing someone or something important before we can come through it to fullness. We can then learn what it has to teach us. In our world, we don’t understand suffering very well.

As a chaplain, when I meet with an elderly person who is dying, I find that I reminisce about my own father, who died relatively young, age 74, from Alzheimer’s Disease. Growing up, he was very active with his work and often left home before I awoke in the morning and frequently came home when I was just going to bed. I looked forward to his old age when I could track him down. I never got that time. I remember bringing my young family into the nursing home for visits when he sat silently drooling in the wheel chair. I also remember feeling slighted when I attempted to say goodbye to him with “the hopes for interaction with him” stuffed inside when he died when I was a young mom, before our last two kids were even born. I appreciate spending time with my elderly patients now, reminiscing with them about their lives as WWII enlisted men, in working hard during the 1960’s, and in savoring their lives and faith as elderly people.  I wonder that my own dad may be sharing some similar stories if he was here.

Maybe this could be a place and time for you to consider and share your own stories, some of the pain of your own losses with our online community here. By doing so, you may come to be able to be more present to your life in it’s twists and turns and the lives of others who are important to you. Without acknowledging and feeling your own losses, you most likely are not able to authentically be emotionally and spiritually present to the pain of others.

In closing, I invite you to share through the comment function a brief word about losses or deaths that you are dealing with right now. You can share your experiences without sharing names if you wish. Let us keep each other in sacred space and prayer and any comments to each other will be welcoming and supportive. Blessings ~ Mary

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