In recent months I’ve taken a pretty narrow approach to the devotionals. I’ve written almost exclusively on spiritual matters. This month, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to broaden the scope and try to expose you all to other people and what they’re saying on all matters recovery. Each day I’ll give a link to an article or video and provide some brief commentary.
Story: Option B- Losing a Parent
From the story: “Her (the writer’s mother) death taught me that grief isn’t about “closure.” Nor is it something to overcome or get past. It’s something to lean into, to embrace. Her death taught me the importance of allowing oneself the love and connection with others that the heightened vulnerability of death and grief can bring us.”
We’re so quick to view our grief and loss as something to be overcome. Yet, the people I have spent time with in life who have suffered the worst losses never really “get over it”. This isn’t to say that their grief looks the same way on day 1 as it does on day 745, but the grief doesn’t just disappear. In part, this is why I’m uncomfortable describing resilience in terms of the strength and speed of our response to adversity. The strength and speed of response is somewhat irrelevant if you’re going to be coping with a powerful loss for the rest of your life. What is important is learning how to sit in (and with) your grief. To acknowledge that it is something that is present in life. To realize that getting rid of grief is not the goal but, instead, to persist in life knowing that grief is along for the ride.
If there is progress, it is the kind of progress the writer of this article describes, wherein he/she learned to prioritize love and connection in new and different ways. Grief has the capacity to give us perspective and to guide us into introspection, allowing us to learn where there are holes or deficiencies in our quality of life. I’m not talking about houses or boats or vacations, of course, but of the profound lack of intimacy many of us settle for. This introspection also helps us see the disconnect between our values, or our vision for life, and our current level of commitment in living them out. In other words, when we’re faced with grief and loss, we become aware of the ways in which we fall short of who want to be in this world. The gift, of course, is we then have the capacity to shift our focus.