Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Hard Dealing with Grief

Requiem Mass
We are not a society that handles grief at all well, or that is good at letting people grieve, and churches (and liturgists) can be be among the worst offenders.  The problem is that grief ignored does not go away.  If we do not face it it can knock the feet out from under us, or render us unable to act in life, or to form new relationships, or love others. 

To be healthy, we need to face grief when it comes, and it can come from many causes.  It can be the death of someone we love, or a broken relationship, or the loss of a pet or a beloved building or place: one grief that comes back to me repeatedly is the loss of my childhood home, which was always a place of peace, and beauty, and safety.  Another is the loss of my marriage.

Losses often cannot be fixed.  We cannot bring back the dead.  Sometimes broken relationships cannot be mended, nor matter how hard we try or might want to.  Sometimes there is no going home, or going back to places we love. 

However, we must deal with grief, and it can be a very, very hard to do so.  Sometimes we need public solemnity and sadness.  I find it always helps to pray over a loss, and prayer, both private and common, for me provides the best comfort.  Talking and remembering with others are important.  Sometimes we need just a walk alone and a chance to cry.  There is nothing unmanly about crying or expressing sadness (for those so foolish as to believe that may I point out that the unwillingness to be vulnerable and face grief can be a kind of cowardice).  There is nothing unhealthy about being sad and expressing it either.  Only when we have faced our sadness and let ourselves feel it and done something with it, even just putting it in God's hands, can we move on.

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