Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Call of Grief

Grief may be the most misunderstood of feelings. It strikes like a snake hidden in the grass. As the world begins to appear in color again, grief raises its all-suffering head. It screams, alone and out of control. It is a solitary and singular feeling.

The past two weeks, death traversed my path several times. A co-worker shared about two deaths that happened within a week of each other and another that is imminent. A friend had to put her beloved dog to sleep. Yet another school shooting tore apart a small community. After a multi-year battle, the younger brother of a friend chose to let his kidney disease take his life. I've watched for years the physical deterioration of a friend with AIDS.

I don't know how to comfort someone cocooned in grief. All I can do is reach out, touch him or her to signal "I am here for you" and allow the space or distance or closeness needed. When my own grief arises, I hope someone is around to do the same for me.

Grief is more than a feeling, stronger than any other emotion. There is an aspect of it that is intensely physical, aching and overwhelming. Its timing and rhythm are random, chaotic and entirely its own.

Despite all this, grief also draws people together. Communities care for those in grief with food, comfort and even physical assistance ~ such as cleaning house or mowing the lawn. I understand another's grief because I have tasted my own. Loss is an experience we all share. We understand its cyclical nature as well.

Have you had a recent encounter with grief? Your own? or someone else's? What effect did it have on you? What did you do about or with it? How do you care for yourself when you feel grief? Is it different if it's your own? or another's?

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