Grief ?>


We will all have to grieve at some time in our lives.  Whether it’s because of death or another terrible sort of loss.  Here the words of Rachel Marie Hauser from Stitched in Color, whose baby died recently. Her words speak volumes, her ‘tutorial’ is heartfelt and told with love.


how to grieve {a tutorial}

*Spend lots of time alone. Alone is the best way to cry, to sob your heart out focused entirely on your loss, to heave, to gasp, to wail, to be as loud and dramatic as you feel, to observe how this loss is etched on your life uniquely in a texture others will never quite understand.

*Spend some time with friends. With friends is the best way to cry. To see your grief mirrored in another one’s tears is validation, comfort and love. If you are lucky they will walk with you awhile and help the tears fall.

*Allow yourself silence to welcome the pain. As your mind wanders, turning over the what ifs and whys, you will find your vigil broken time and again by the world going on. The dog needs feeding; the lawn mower roars; the trees bloom and shoot out new leaves. Draw a blanket of silence around you to create space for your grief, but notice how life pushes back… relentlessly.

*Don’t do anything until you are ready – opening the condolences cards, throwing out the flowers, packing up that special room. You will not know you are ready until you are ready. It is another mystery of completeness, the wherefore is elusive, but suddenly you arrive.

*Respect the power of final things. Each task you have left to do for your lost loved one is loaded with meaning. It declares “here is death” once again. Don’t attempt to sort through her clothes between laundry and dusting on cleaning day. Carve out a time to savor, to notice the sorrow of these last things, to grieve each little death.

*Don’t believe that finality brings peace. There is no finality. Grief goes on and on, becoming quieter and better behaved, but truly a lifelong companion. So hang pictures of your loved one, make a little shrine of her sweet things, speak the name, wish that others would speak it more often. There is no getting through or beyond, just an altered life to craft from this dust.

*Seek the community of the likewise bereaved. For us quiet types, read and read their memoirs. Explore the edges of your pain as it is reflected back to you in their stories – different, but the same. Find new bits to appreciate about your own sorry lot; find new words and fresh tears for its tragedy too. Take note of what you learn from each story. They are markers of your past and of your journey now, onward.

*Draw out the process. There is no greater healing in speed. Pick up your needle to stitch through the memories, but put it aside if the project progresses to soon. Say to yourself you will do this or do that to honor her memory, but let yourself save them for later if you like. These intentions are little dates with your loved one saved for a time when your heart needs to visit.

*And when you are most desperate, run, run, run across the meadow, out into the forest as the sun sets. Find yourself stumbling with wet eyes, gasping and out of breath before the tree where you scattered her ashes. Go there to be as near to her as you can and feel how terribly she is not there. How she is never closer now than in your mind and heart. Death is too terrible to be believed.


Postscript: Of course this tutorial only applies 100% if you are Rachel Marie Hauser. I write today to acknowledge my grief and to prevent any misconception, especially to readers who are also grieving, that I have “moved on.” Our culture is uncomfortable with suffering, with grief and with death, and prefers to lock such realities away. In consequence, when we face these things we find ourselves in uncharted territory without a guide. It has been my privilege to share my heart here, unedited. Thank you and may you be blessed.”

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