on grief

sacred heart of mary

Allow your grief
Make space for it to flow, it is holy
The over-culture would have you believe
that your grief is an illness, to be medicated away
if you have passed your allocated 2 weeks without pay

your heart does not believe in deadlines
she is wise
she does not allow the sacred process of grieving to begin
if we do not make space for it
for she knows once begun,
it must not be silenced
the very soul and life is at risk of going numb
if this most sacred and sensitive place
is rendered profane by a deadline or an outcome

do not go numb,
grieve instead, and live
it is time

You may have not time to rest your arms,
to lie and weep out your grief
remember you are strong enough to carry your sorrow
to stolen moments of solitude
you are doing sacred work
and when it is done you will open your eyes again to joy

share your scrap of bread and cup of milk with sorrow
and blessing will come

it is the way of things
sorrow and joy are twin, they flow together

if your doctor says
in ignorant kindness
that more than 2 weeks to weep out deep sorrow
is a little unreasonable,
it is an illness

tell him from me, please
that he is right:
it is unreasonable
grief is not about reason
and as I am grief stricken
I must also be stricken with the unreason of it
for how can I make sense of this?
I instead honour my senses,
I will be sensible
it is all that can be done

there is no cure for grief other than to sorrow
she unfolds slowly
she unfolds us slowly
she is a hard teacher,
for there is little sweetness in her teaching
it is an initiation

 Be guided by wise ones who know the rhythm and rites of sorrow & grief
the poets,
the Saints,
your godmother

May you be guided by the grace of an open sky
and a fresh cold wind that forces the eyes to tear
when the throat fills with the sand
of things we wished we’d said,

say to the hollow wind in your suffering
what you wanted to say
the wind carries the sound to all the souls that ever were

you are heard in your sorrow and rage and anguish

Grief will not eat you
and sorrow will not drown you
she comes to heal you
to lift up from your heart your burden
and push out the glass you carry there
her salt heals
trust it, though it stings

she comes so that you can fill up with joy
you must empty out first  that which has become brackish
to fill again with sweet water

salt first,
then sweet

you cannot think it away
your mysterious grieving will not melt with analysis
it is not your mother or missing father
or a lover who put dust in your eyes and made them smart
it is not you, either, my dear heart

it is the way of things

Sorrow has made you who you are, now
has tempered the fire and tested the strength of your bones
you are becoming wise
this is not an easy thing

and yet, here you are bravely standing, still
remembering the sorrows in a world that asks you to forget
your feeling, your soul, your humanity
and go and buy something

you stand, still human, still alive
this is a victory

now,
look at your own hands, I will tell you a secret
this is not the first time those hands have lived on this earth
you will go on
long after this time

but for now your work is sorrowing,
and I in my sorrows, remember your heart,
remember mine too
go on in courage to your sorrow,
salt water heals all wounds
you are healing
first salt,
then sweet

mater dolorosa2

I hope that those touched by grief – especially the nameless grief of senseless death – may find a space, a circle made with these words. I write these words as someone who has experienced immense grief and heartbreak in my life. Please understand these are not words of “inspiration” but what I have myself learned on my journey. Not just words from the heart but from feet blistered from wandering, aching back, silenced tongue. I pray for you and send you love and encouragement. Your heart will be eased. 

If you are in need of wise counsel, someone to bear witness and guide you through the rite of grief, please reach out to a trusted elder, skilled healer or person specially dedicated  to a life of faith and love. If the person you first speak to is not wise and rebuffs your sorrow, please persist there are many who have walked this path. You are not alone.  

6 thoughts on “on grief

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