Saying Goodbye…. a blog post about grief
I know it’s a different kind of post for this site, but grief seems to be all around just now…
Grief of friends who have lost a loved one
Grief for a woman who died from a heart attack at the dawn of a new life
Grief for parents who lost a newborn
Grief for the loss of a mother
Grief for those who have fled their war-torn country and didn’t make it to a place of safety
Grief for our planet
Grief for the powerlessness of observing another’s grief…
Grief is a solitary activity, shared.
Grief is such a personal thing and yet universal.
Grief is a natural process.
Grief is to be felt, to be honoured, to be expressed, not to be swept away with trite words (even though sometimes that’s the best thing we have), or shying away because of the discomfort at how difficult it is and having no idea of what to say.
Grief has messages about how we have lived and how we will live.
Grief has a gift, if eventually we can find it in the darkness.
Robert Holden said:
Grief is an angel… Grief visits everyone. We have to be willing to let grief in and have her stay a while if we are to come to terms with what has happened. We will shut her out many times. Fortunately, she doesn’t give up. She hovers over us, ready to catch us when we are off guard. She waits for us in the dark. She helps us to meet our anger, our pain, and the urge to die.
Grief teaches us to forgive. With her help, we forgive our losses in all their guises. We forgive the world for being only temporary. We forgive each other for leaving and for dying. Through forgiveness, we see that some things can’t be lost. Form changes, but love is constant… Relationships are forever in the Oneness of things. Forgiveness gives us life after death.
Times of grief are when we need our friends and loved ones to be there for us; sometimes quietly, sometimes invisibly, sometimes practically. There for us with a steadying arm, or with a cup of tea, with the warm arms of a hug, or with a hot meal. They are times when sometimes our friends and loved ones can withdraw because they don’t know what to say for fear of upsetting us, when just a look, or a nod, or a hug is all that is needed.
Each grief journey is different.
I have seen grief turned into the most astonishing action. For some, this has included developing support groups, charity work, and activism. For others, it has resulted in a completely new approach to life. Others still, an abiding sadness, which reverberates as empathy with others in the same situation.
Yes, each journey is unique, none better, none worse. All are to be respected.
Spiritual counseling can be a supportive approach for those who need help to explore or cope with these enormous feelings of loss. It enables the person experiencing, or suffering grief to be witnessed and held in a sacred space. This could be in the immediate aftermath, when planning the funeral, or at any stage of the grieving process, which may include denial, anger and bargaining.
As a One Spirit Interfaith Minister, mine is not to tell someone what to believe about what happens after someone passes. My own belief system is less important, than compassion for the one I support. My role is to provide support for those grieving exactly where they are in their own belief system, to hold them in what can be a time of isolation and aloneness in a wilderness of pain. It is to not shy away from the anguish of loss and stand as a beacon of light, to surround the darkness of loss with love.
If you are grieving, I honour you and I send you love … and a poem
If Roses Grow in Heaven
Don’t think of her as gone away,
Her journey’s just begun.
Life holds so many facets,
This earth is only one.
Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears,
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years.
Think how she must be wishing
That we could know today,
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.
And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched,
For nothing loved is ever lost
And she was loved so much.
There are many resources to support the grieving process, both online and in person, one of the most well-known is CRUSE.
If you would like me to provide support for grief through Spiritual Counseling,
If you have lost a loved one and want to arrange a funeral that is sacred without being religious,
If you would like to plan your own funeral for the time ahead, so that you know your wishes will be respected,
Please contact me
With so much love,
The Rev’d Sarah Ridout
One Spirit Interfaith Minister
Other sources of support
Robert Holden wrote the Foreword to the book Gifted by Grief A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth by Jane Duncan Rogers and has written may books, including Lovability and Shift Happens.