“Grief feels like it will never pass. This brings us great fear. We worry that this house of sorrow will be our final resting place, that our days will always be overcast, gray, and dulled by the sadness we carry. We have the sense that we are on a slow walk with no obvious destination. Fortunately, grief knows where to take us; we are on a pilgrimage to soul.” – Francis Weller
When we work together on grief, I am not going to try to fix your grief or help things go back to the way they were before your loss. When you are grieving you don’t need platitudes, distractions or programs of recovery. The person you lost is never coming back, and in many ways that will never be ok.
Because grief comes from our love, it is one of our most powerful allies. It is also one of our most fearsome. Sometimes fresh grief will unlock old grief buried deep in our bones. When we learn to be with our grief, to hold it and allow it to change us, we open ourselves to more love and compassion than was ever possible in our lives before.
I had the great privilege of studying Compassionate Bereavement Care with Dr. Joanne Cacciatore in Sedona, Arizona. Dr. Cacciatore is a fearless pioneer in the practice of being with grief and living a full life with a heart transformed by bereavement. As she says, “Grief strips us down like nothing else. It simultaneously liberates and annihilates.”
In my own life, I was deeply transformed by the disabling accident and eventual death of my younger brother, Kees, the person I was the closest to for most of this life.
“The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”
– Joanna Macy