My evening was filled with feelings. I attended the group I joined a couple of weeks ago again tonight. We start each week by by listening to a speaker, Tonight the speaker touched me greatly. He reminded me of the gratitude I have for my 25 plus years of sobriety and to reflect upon it with thankfulness to my God, the God of redemption, the God of second chances. I am blessed to have been given second chances. The talk lasted almost thirty minutes and then broke for us to join for our small groups. My group is looking at grief. It is an emotion that is not honored appropriately in our culture. The sharing and work that book is inspiring is bringing insight that is sometimes painful for me, and it seems, for all of us in the group. However in the pain there is healing, and hope.
One man shared his journey of the last week and I found his depth of compassion and thoughts inspiring. He spoke of suffering, of the way we run from it, try to seek comfort and pleasure, but that in the end, suffering can bring you closer to your God, closer to the truth of what it is that makes us human too. He shared a wonderful reading that was so inspiring and made us all just sit in awe.
I listened to another who was grieving the death of the mother she helped through the illness that ended her life. I listened to her pain over her thoughts that the way she cared for her mom was not sufficient. Was not good enough. Tears filled my eyes as I remember my father’s illness that took his life. I remember seeing the way it was for my mom as she was with him while he died, as she cared for him and had to watch him die. It is painful stuff, this remembering, this sharing. Painful and healing.
Grief and mourning are separate. Distinct, and in order to heal and integrate grief into our lives the act of mourning is essential. It can be done in small doses so it is not as hard, so all encompassing. But for me it is a necessary process. To open up and express the grief outwardly, to mourn losses and feel the pain of them. It is not something to “get over”, it is something to walk through and allow it to integrate into my story. The story of me.