Grief is Not a Ladder…. You Are Doing the Work
Midge’s Mumblings on Awakened Hearts
Today I attended a funeral of a person I did not know; but I knew her life was important to her family, my Parish Family, and I knew that her life benefited children and animals. I wanted to be there to show my support and to honor a life well lived. The service was thoughtful and loving. The memories her family and friends told about her were funny and bittersweet. The room was filled with love and compassion. I found myself tearing up as the family walked in. I could feel their loss. I teared up as stories were told. I could feel their loss. I teared up when my own losses came into my heart.
I was there to honor this dynamic and loving soul, and yet, my thoughts kept moving into my heart where losses in my life are still bittersweet. Once again, I thought of my dad, who I loved, who died, and how our relationship never was the ‘Fathers Knows Best’ version. I thought of my fur babies that left this earth. I thought about our dear friend in Kansas who died suddenly and left such a hole in the lives of all who loved her; just as this loving soul from our Parish has similarly left in the lives of all who knew and loved her.
I attended the reception with all intentions of giving my support to the family; but was surprised as I found another kindred spirit that was going through their own trip down grief lane. As I listened to her story of loss that often stops her from being able to attend the funerals of others without her dear partner who could not attend; I heard her frustration at not being over her past loss yet.
I reminded her that there isn’t an, I’m over it ladder to climb, and that we all have to go back and grieve again our losses when we are confronted with the loss we are experiencing now. I told her that she is doing the work. That she is doing it right. To feel the feelings as they are and express them in the moment; that is the work. The work of grieving is long, hard, and continuous. It is never done.
I feel less pain about my dad when I revisit my loss. I feel more pain at losses that have happened recently. I still tear up when I think of fur babies who are not with me in physical form. I still tear up when I sit in the middle of a full congregation of people who loved this wife, mother, friend, co-worker, and parish family member because I know this pain and I feel their pain and loss as well as my own.
….and….. that is okay. Be gentle with yourselves my friends who are grieving. You are doing the work.