Here you are again, my old friend. Can I even call you a friend? The truth is that it’s never really good to see you. I’m sure that you know that. There were so many years when I locked you out, ignored your calls, and left you standing out in the cold. I didn’t know what to do with you. Well, not this time. This time I know that the sooner I let you in, the sooner your incessant knocking will quiet down. This time I’ve opened the door wide, I’ve made room for you at my table and I will sit and talk with you for hours, for days, weeks, whatever it takes to honor these feelings. I have a very heavy heart. The tears have come and I say let them flow. Let them pour out of me because the more I can let out the sooner my heart will begin to feel lightness again. I will make friends with you so that I can move forward.
My head certainly knows that everyone around me will die eventually. My head knows that the deceased are no longer suffering. My head knows that grieving is the work of the living. It’s my heart. It aches with pain and no matter what I tell myself my heart seems to need the time and space to grieve. I don’t know if that’s because I experienced the loss early and the pain I feel is through the lens of a 9 year old. It’s sharp. For me it’s a very physical experience. They say that each death reminds you of all the others. This latest death, the death of my uncle is bringing up the pain of losing my father suddenly as a child. My uncle was one of my few male role models and he took an interest in me. He gave me a job when I first arrived in Maine and was very much a surrogate father. I am very grateful for having him in my life. He taught me many of the skills that I use today. We haven’t been close over the last decade, but his impact on my life was great. He had a small plane and would take me up in it and we would fly over the hills and valleys of upstate New York. In life he taught me how to fly. In death he is teaching me how to be grounded and how to accept grief into my heart.
Some of you know that I work with Hospice. After going through grad school and acknowledging the unattended grief and loss from my early years and its impact on me I found a new way to give back; the wounded healer archetype at work. I was all set to begin working with a new general loss group on Tuesday. I would be mentoring under some of the other experienced facilitators. It now looks like that isn’t going to happen. This loss is too fresh and I wouldn’t be able to be there for the others. I’m disappointed, but I am considering going though the course as a member of the group. The more I can work though my own grief, the more I can help others and the more I help others with their grief, the more I work on my own.
My heart goes out to so many of you who are sitting with grief, friends and family, especially my cousins, Mary, Jen, Gordon and Dave, and their kids. I hope you all find the space to honor your loss and the safety in which to express your feelings. If you haven’t found it you might consider checking your nearest Hospice Bereavement Center. We heal each other when grief comes calling and grief is one of those friends, like it or not, that just keeps on calling. Eventually we all have to answer. Blessings.