Food for Thought

Sorrow comes in great waves….but it rolls over us,
and though it may almost smother us,
it leaves us. And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger,
inasmich as it passes and we remain.

(attributed to Henry James)

Healing is not forcing the sun to shine, but letting go that which blocks the light.

Stephen & Ondrea Levine

The love that once was born cannot die
for it has become part of us, of our life,
Woven into the very texture of our being.
Each of us would wish
To leave some part of ourselves,
So here and now
We bear witness to the one we knew in life
Who now in death bequeaths a subtle part,
Precious and beloved,
Which will be with us in truth and beauty
In dignity and courage and love
To the end of our days.

Algernon Black

Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a way to stand.

Oprah Winfrey

To Heal a Fractured World

The paradox of altruism is that the hope we give others returns to us undiminished and enlarged. Perhaps faith is only created in the doing, happiness in the giving and meaning in the courage to take risks for the sake of an ideal. All I know is that the greatest achievement in life is to have been, for one other person, even for one moment, an agent of hope.

Rabbi Sacks

Accepting the hand of another is difficult when you are grieving, when you feel alone.

Accepting help and love is part of the healing process.

Accepting help, reaching for the hand is a sign of strength, not weakness.

By Choosing to Confront Grief We Can Overcome Our Loss

by Adolfo Quezada

My old friend grief is back. He comes to visit me once in a while just to remind me that I am still a broken man. Surely there has been much healing since my son died six years ago, and surely I have adjusted to a world without him by now. But the truth is, we never completely heal; we never totally adjust to the loss of a major love.

Such is the nature of loss that no matter how much time has passed, and no matter how much life has been experienced, the heart of the bereaved will never be the same. It is as though a part of us also dies with the person we lose through death, or other forms of permanent separation. We will be all right, but we will never be the same.

And so my old friend Grief drops in to say hello. Sometimes he enters through the door of my memory. I’ll hear a certain song or smell a certain fragrance, or I’ll look at a certain picture and I’ll remember how it used to be. Sometimes it brings a smile to my face, sometimes a tear.

Some may say that such remembering is not healthy, that we ought not to dwell on thoughts that make us sad. Yet, the opposite is true. Grief revisited is grief acknowledged, and grief confronted is grief resolved.

But if grief is resolved, why do we still feel a sense of loss come anniversaries and holidays, and even when we least expect it? Why do we feel a lump in the throat, even six years after the loss? It is because healing does not mean forgetting, and because moving on with life does not mean that we don’t take a part of our lost loved one with us.

Of course, the intensity of the pain decreases over time if we allow Grief to visit us from time to time. But if the intensity remains, or if our life is still dysfunctional years after our loss, we may be stuck and in need of professional help to get unstuck.

Sometimes my old friend Grief sneaks up on me. I’ll feel an unexplained but profound sadness that clings to me for days. Then I’ll recognize the grief and cry a little, and then I can go on. It’s as though the ones we have loved and lost are determined not to be forgotten.

My old friend Grief doesn’t get in the way of my living. He just wants to come along and chat sometimes. In fact, Grief has taught me a few things about living that I would not have learned on my own. Old Grief has taught me, over the years, that if I try to deny the reality of a major loss in my life I end up having to deny life altogether. He has taught me that although the pain of loss is great, I must confront it and experience it fully or risk emotional paralysis.

Old Grief has also taught me that I can survive even great losses, and that although my world is very different after a major loss, it is still my world and I must live in it. He has taught me that when I let go I can flourish again in season and bring forth the good fruit that comes, not in spite of my loss, but because of it.

My old friend Grief has taught me that the loss of a loved one does not mean the loss of love, for love is stronger than separation and longer than the permanence of death.

My old friend Grief may leave me for a while, but he’ll be back again to remind me to confront my new reality, and to gain through loss and pain.