Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thinking again about inconsolable grief, and company along the way

I have been thinking again about inconsolable grief.  About how some deaths make sense, some deaths we can eventually make sense out of, and some we don't necessarily ever make sense of.  We live with them as the edges wear to somewhat less sharpness.

Beloved Wife and I are going through a death in our family that doesn't make sense.

It has a narrative which either of us can tell you.  That narrative, in its own strange way, makes sense to me through the lens of my training, education, and experience.  I can explain any number of things to you about it.  But it doesn't make sense to my gut, nor, I think, to hers, or to anyone's in our family.  

That's part of the difference between explanation and lived experience

I'm reminded of how I feel tongue-tied when people want me to explain Paganism or Witchcraft or Quakerism to them in a way that makes these things make sense to them, that helps them understand them.  I can explain, but I can't give them the experience, and the experience is, after all, what is central in these experiential mystical traditions/religions/spiritualities.

Or when people I work with one-on-one or in groups want me to explain trauma recovery, the process of grieving, the process of re-connecting with their sense of That-Which-Is-Sacred, or other kinds of healing.

But in those situations, there's something different.  It's more personal.  And the person asking is usually also asking for hope: Tell me I can do thisTell me this is possible for me.

(Yes.  Yes, it is.  No, you will not be alone.)  

Life is like that.  The explanations, the words on paper or the screen, are reflections of the reality.  They can hint, but they can't convey the fullness, the reality, of experience.

And as I wrote earlier, these aren't things we can fix for each other, or do for each other.  But these are things we can accompany each other during.  And that's important.  

My gut refuses any sense of this death, at the same time my brain can't help seeing the patterns that are there, and the vast gaps where there are none.

And so here I am, again, faced with an inconsolable grief, one that is both my own and where I have care for others affected by it. 

I've written about inconsolable grief before, about what's helpful and what's not.  (I also very much appreciated the gentle and loving conversation in the comments on that piece from people about what they'd found helpful, and not helpful, and why, in their own grief.) 

I very much appreciate your holding us, and our family, in the Light, or doing whatever your own personal practice is when you hold someone in your spiritual care.  I appreciate your being gentle with me while I'm still in shock.  I appreciate your not trying to fix the unfixable, and most of all, just being with, being present, being company during the process.

3 comments:

Reignwater said...

The hard stuff is just so hard isn't it. Please know I'm sending a virtual hug (which fixes nothing but mends much), valuing who you are and knowing that you will come to peace.

staśa said...

Thank you. :)

staśa said...

And in the middle of all this, a dear friend just got very, very good news from her oncologist. Life marches on...