Archive for December 8th, 2011

holiday bokeh on the riverwalk (24 days of Chr...

Image by jmtimages via Flickr

We all have days that have special meaning to us and many aren’t the days that are pre-printed on our calendars…

We want to know which holidays are the toughest for you to get through?  When is it that you need more support?

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Awesome resource for end-of-life

This was a blog that I used to write for while I worked for hospice.  Please check out the whole site.  It has wonderful resources for many different aspects of end-of-life care.

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Trying to protect ourselves from pain limits us and pushes away all that we love, leaving us feeling isolated.

But if we gently explore layer after layer of our clinging to our pain, we beckon love to accompany us on the path of healing.

 ~~  Stephen Levine.

 Grief is so intensely personal.  It’s the loss of our relationship, my favorite aunt, my lover, my child.  It’s the secondary losses … if I lost my husband, it’s also the loss of the person who I go canoeing with, the loss of the person with whom I will grow old, the loss of the person who touches me intimately, the loss of the person who cooks gourmet dinners, and the person with whom I listen to old Billy Joel albums with and reminisce of the concert we went to at Jones Beach on Long Island.   It’s the loss of the future… my husband and I won’t celebrate our 20th anniversary two years from now, we won’t take that trip to Budapest, we won’t see our grandkids grow up and go away to college…

And some days, we have one of our losses in the forefront of our minds (and hearts).  Other days we have several of these in our awareness.  Sometimes, we may feel like we are in an “OK” place, and then bam, we get hit.  Maybe that’s the day, several months or even years after the loss, that I hear Billy Joel playing at the grocery store and that’s when I am flooded with grief.

It is for these reasons (and more) why we don’t just get over grief. Why we aren’t “fixed” within the 3 days of bereavement time we have from work.  This is why holiday after holiday, season after season, are hearts can be tugged, and pulled, and sometimes even shattered. And at the same time, this is also why grieving is a normal process, in which we take healing on multiple levels… physical, psychological, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonally, intra-personally.  It’s not a disease that needs to be medicated, it’s not denial, and it’s not maladaptive.  It is at its core, the one of the most adaptive things we do.

And what do we do?  We learn to have compassion for ourselves.  I grieve the loss of the physical person, in this example, my husband.  I grieve layer upon layer of all the things he was and of all the things he meant to me while he was alive.  I grieve what I no longer have and what I will never be able to have in relation to him.

What don’t I do?  I don’t just acknowledge the loss, come to terms with it, withdraw my energy from it, and have “reconciliation” as so many theorists suggest.  If it were that simple, we would most likely be that simple, our relationships and our world would be that simple… we know in our heart of hearts, we are complex and complicated.  We know that as much as we feel like we stay the same, we are also ever changing and ever growing.  We change cognitively, developmentally; we expand and contract, we deepen and age.

How does mindfulness relate to all of this? 


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