As I mentioned in one of my last posts that my mother died last year October – 7th October to be exact. I am not going to tell you what an amazing person she was or how I miss her. This is a reflection on “How do we grieve?”
We are all different and come from different cultures from all over the world. In a conversation recently I mentioned that I can hardly believe that a year has gone by already. I don’t want this year to be up because it somehow asks something of me to mark my mother’s passing. Does this confront me in a way that feels uncomfortable? I think it does. What do you do when a year is up?I was asked by someone what I would like to do on the day. It sounds weird what do you do?
The conversation continued: Does it take a year to complete one’s grieving? No. It takes as long as it takes. It could be 7 years or it could be forever. One year is just part of the process. Life is a process. And grief is part of life. It is an ongoing healing process of gathering up the broken pieces, odd shaped ones and perfect pieces and assimilating them; ultimately making something beautiful through it all. You will always carry your loved one in your heart and in your life wherever you go.
One year is not enough time to grieve a loved one. After a year it could be fitting to honour all the parts: the cracks, the beauty, the joy and the pain. You could light a candle on the anniversary of their death as a remembering of the good, the bad and the messy; and a remembering of the days journeying unto death. With the death there could have been relief and/or regrets; there is pain in remembering at first but there is also potential for joy as you begin to remember who they were; and consider how their lives have shaped yours. Or maybe there is no joy in remembering their life. It is just enough to be honest with yourself. You could write a poem or journal or a letter or make a piece of art. Do whatever moves you. Don’t just do what others expect of you; make it meaningful. Allow your process to be authentically yours; don’t be dictated to or think you must follow someone else’s process. You could always pay homage with a toast or a meal; on your own or with others. But know that it is an ongoing process of the yearnings; melancholy, love and grace.
Be present to the process instead of fabricating what others think is a good idea. Be present to the process and wherever it leads you, wherever it moves you. Understand that it flows this way and that way; backwards and forwards; and you even get stuck at times. You can call these stages or phases but the names don’t matter; what matters is that you keep going back to the process and going where it leads. In the center of this process is healing; is new life. So own the process and make it personal. It is complex and complicated just as the relationship itself is complex. Hold all in your spirit, mind and soul with great compassion. Have compassion for yourself and for others.
I am interested to know from my readers (if you would be happy to share) how you and your culture grieves; or do you prefer a personal approach?
I want to wish you all hope, strength and love – especially those of you who are carrying grief or going through a the difficult end of life time personally or with someone else.
Take care till next time.