Grief: help (if you need it...)

[Maybe most of us don't need the help, not yet? Or don't know that we need it? 'cos we are still so deeply steeped in denial? Well, whatever...] Grief has been very much on my mind (well, my heart more than my mind, I suppose) for several months now.

I’m a pretty joyful, cheerful person on the whole – & still am … mostly.

But there’s been a lot of grief coming up lately – & hanging around pretty stubbornly. Maybe it is here to stay??

I only confess this here because I suspect it’s potentially useful to others to hear me speak honestly about this.

The grief I feel is a mixture.

Some of it is “personal” – Janet stuff. Stuff from my “own” life.

Much of it, I think, is not personal, in a way – but probably sort of collective.

Surely all of us have grief in us, whether we are admitting to it or not.

How could we not, the state of the world being what it is??

I'm sure I could go on about this topic for vast lengths & swaths of time.

But I have other things to do (you too, no doubt!), & my main purpose here is to provide some helpful information other grieving humans can make use of.

Let’s face it, normally, we don’t talk much about grief in this culture. “Buck up.” “Suck it up.” “Move on.” “Get over it.” “Don’t be a baby.”

We are sooooo hard on each other, & on ourselves. Sad. :(

But I think it's time to let grief out of the closet. Let’s work on that, shall we?

 

Since we’re not really good at “doing” grief in our “can do” culture, I think we need

a) permission to admit to/acknowledge our feelings of grief

b) access to some wise counsel on the topic.

 

Here is a list of some items that have been useful to me, of late.

Helpful on Grief

Francis Weller: 2 YouTubes I’ve watched, one long, one short (only 14 minutes but with plenty of insights packed in!)

Stephen Jenkinson – who spent many years in what he calls “the death trade” (i.e., palliative care work).     Great NFB film about him – ‘Griefwalker

Carolyn Baker & the radio show she hosts - The Lifeboat Hour

2 recent great interviews on the show in which grief is front & centre:

 

Quotations from Joanna Macy

Facebook support group for people who’ve accepted NTE/NTHE (near-term extinction, near-term human extinction). Only join if you’ve really accepted it (no “hopium” about “solutions” is permitted in the group; we’re all past that kind of talk, & truly want to be of support to one another in the face of what we believe is now inevitable: near-term human extinction).

Two Alan Watts short YouTubes on death I watched/heard recently are a source of comfort to me. They put death into a very comfortable perspective, somehow, & are just very enjoyable to hear. ‘A different way to look at death’ (4 minutes) & ‘Death and your dissolution’ (6 minutes).

 

Finally

As Francis Weller points out in the lovely (short) YouTube listed above, grief is something we are actually not meant to carry, or suffer, on our own.

It is meant to be carried in community; carried collectively.

In some ways, I suppose (this is just occurring to me as the pen scurries across the page), carrying/transforming/transmuting my own grief through (collective) action/activism is what I’ve been doing all these years as an environmental activist.

The pain of seeing what our species has done/is doing to our precious beautiful planet was too much to bear; I simply had to dive in & try to help stop the madness. (& it’s been a grand, rewarding time too! As I have pointed out on this blog many a time & oft, here being but one example.)

Now it’s as though, in accepting the terminal diagnosis of our species’ existence (which I did some years ago now, reluctantly of course, & over a span of time), & continuing to be present by the bedside of the cancer-stricken loved one (i.e., our species), as it were, & doing what could be done…

here I am, now

with all the grief the imminent death of a dearly loved one carries with it

 

& then some...

 

& ... you know?? This is one kind of big load to carry.

Like everyone, I need some help with the task – we all do. We need not (can not!) do this alone.

We do not have to carry all this grief all by ourselves.

:) :(

Janet

p.s. another, later posting about grief on this blog, here, with yet more suggested links/resources.

Quote of the day’ with this post: “I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson in GOING DARK

 

“Her grief was dignified and hidden, as is most grief, which is partly why there is always so much of it to go around.” The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers <pg. 219>

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – from the Talmud

“Recognizing our despair over the ravages to the biosystem is necessary. However, when we become paralyzed by despair, we opt out of the organism which is our proper home and become part of the destructive force…Nature is still the provider of epiphanies. One does not abandon one’s mother in her illness…” – Peri Phillips McQuay (nature writer)

  

** NTE Section on this blog: hover over the title at top left to see what's available in terms of resources & so on - or use these links: