Resources For Those Who Grieve
What can I do?
This is the first concern that hits most of us when we hear that someone we love is dying. Or someone we know has lost someone near to them. We don’t have many established customs for grief or supporting the grieving.
And so we feel alone and helpless in the face of such monumental emotions.
As Amanda Palmer so eloquently puts it in her post on the loss of her best friend:
We’re all so far from death and life and birth all the time because we no longer live in tribes and villages and close quarters. it used to be that there was always someone around dying, and someone around being born, and it rolled out right in front of your eyes, this great cycle of life, instead of being hidden in locked, poorly-lit buildings with visiting hours.
We long to find the right words, do the right things. But what to do, what to say that will not add to their grief. We find ourselves awkward, aloof, longing to know how to be with them in the dark unbearableness of loss. Finding ways to be there whilst not intruding on their need to be alone.
I was approached by a friend who was looking for resources, and wanted to share them onwards, powerful posts that have touched me over the years, I have collected them in my memory, like stones in my pocket, to pull out when needed. Pebbles to offer others and to hold onto myself when everything else is falling apart. Words of wisdom that might help you on your way, if you are grieving or supporting a loved one in their loss.
The first is from Heather Plett, who I have huge respect for, about the importance of holding space in death and grief, and how to practically do it.
I found this idea of comfort in, dump out simple, profound and powerful… this is an important guide to how to support your loved one… and find support for yourself in your own grief
It is explained powerfully in this short article.
If you are wanting practical advice, this is useful from a grief counselor. I also love this post by Jo Macdonald on 5 things she’s learned about grief, written after the sudden passing of her grandmother. Each point really touches home, #4 especially so: “Grief can play hide and seek better that anyone.”
For the stages of grief, check out the seminal work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Here are her five stages…
For those who are trying to find a new normal after a devastating loss I offer Sheryl Sandberg’s moving reflection on the loss of her husband, 30 days after his sudden and unexpected death and how she is trying to find “choose life and meaning whilst consumed by the vast emptiness” of Plan B, when all she wants is Plan A.
For those struggling with stillbirth or pregnancy loss, I direct you to Molly Remer’s blog dedicated to this topic.
If you are looking for more extended resources, I have heard that The Year of Magical Thinking is a powerful book and also Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. For those who are needing healing resources for any sort of grief, not just death, Entering the Healing Ground: Grief Ritual and the Soul of the World by Francis Weller is recommended. For powerful reflections from a doula of birth and death, I recommend Birth, Breath and Death.
I wish you love, support and healing.