I have been around dying, death, and loss formally since the mid 1990’s and I have always said there is no formula for it – no one way to express it. Well, given my very personal experience with my brother Peter’s death I can say I was most profoundly right.
Grief seems to have a mind of its own. It shows up when it shows up and usually it is not concerned with where I am, whom I am with, what time of day it is, or what I am doing. As a matter of fact it seems to show up when I am most relaxed, busy with life, and not at all expecting it.
I could be at brunch with friends, in a meeting, giving a talk, out in the garden, driving the car, putting the garbage out, or playing cribbage. Not to dismiss notable dates, they are worth keeping in mind, but any date seems to be a good day for grief.
Here is a recent example;
I was out for brunch with two dear friends of ours, Amber and Jesse, having a wonderful time reconnecting, enjoying the food and company, and just catching up. Well, when it was my turn to share I started to tell them of my adventures with Peter in Creston and up popped grief most unexpectedly, and the trickster didn’t mind at all that the restaurant, El Camino, was packed, and that the server was at our table checking in to see how the meal was.
What’s a fella’ to do?
Well, I simply let the grief that was there express itself. Basically did my best not to resist its expression, nor did I force it. I just let grief do its thing. Everyone got it, no one tried to make me feel better or make the grief go away. We all let it fill our space and in a way enjoy it. The natural way it came out seemed to draw us all closer in life, in relationship, and in reality. It was lovely.
The art of it seems to be to just let it flow, not to make sense of it or the timing of it but simply to express what’s there. In a way to be generous with the emotions and let others feel what is real for me in my own unique walk with grief. After all it really is an expression of how deeply I loved my dear brother Peter and what a wonderful gift that is to share.
Ah, the trickster what a fine friend grief can be. Comfort can be found in sharing it generously – after all how can love be a burden?
For other posts from Stephen Garrett read the author’s archive.