It seems to me that when we refuse the dark phase of the natural cycle we cut off life’s regenerative power. It is a sad fact that in our Western society grief is not acknowledged and rituals passed through that would allow the feelings of sadness in moving through us, to help us move on with loss.. In the novel I am reading Nothing But Blue Sky after the plane crash which kills his wife, David tries his best to come to terms with, not only his grief, but all the ways his own avoidant pattern due to bullying and remote parents with many issues, affected his marriage.. Sadly his wife’s father remains trapped in frozen grief. Since Mary Rose died in a plane crash, he gears his days around researching the crash and seeking some form of resolution. Mary Rose’s mother suffers her grief all alone due to his fixation. David looks on at both with compassion and comes to meet a woman he and his wife used to see on holidays in Spain who loses her two children as well as he navigates the winding pathway of his own grief journey
I could not help but think how silently grief is often carried in this culture and masquerades under all other kinds of emotions, reactions and behavior. I had a friend reach out to me last week to let me know her elderly father died.. She was the one who avoided me when my Godfather passed in 2004 and I tried to tell her of the grief of Dad it was bringing up. She just avoided me for weeks on end. At the time it really hurt and she was the one who shamed me in the final years of my addiction and told me if I didn’t stop drinking she would cut me out of her life. She did apologise in later years. By some weird stroke of fate (or due to retrograde planets) her Facebook message to tell me her Dad had died did not get to me until 5 days later. I tried to call her immediately but have not heard back as yet… But I could tell from her message that she knew I knew the territory having faced the death of my own father in my early 20s.
Our failure to acknowledge those in grief makes, for those of us undergoing it, grieving even harder. That said if we can acknowledge our loss and give ourselves the love it does help. When Mum passed away in 2017 I knew I was going to be pretty much all alone with it, apart from therapy and my blog. I notice that due to the fact I share about grief here I do bond with others going through it all. And grieving can be so complex and tied in with other issues… There can be an anger that we carry from childhood that may be about grief over the loss or absence of available attachments we needed and were not even allowed to know we needed.
For myself I didn’t get to really start grieving the loss of my Dad until 2001 (Now many years later I have had to grieve also what he could not give me due to his own past trauma). From 2001 onward is when my whole life began to tear apart as part of me sensed I needed to be close to family but (in a difficult situation that is so complex) even if I was close to them they would bat back my feelings every single time finding them impossible to cope with.. So it was when Phil (my last partner) and I broke up around Dad’s death anniversary, Mum and I fought as she told me I had no right to carry grief and I ran away again to Sydney and got involved in several more very wounding attachments until I came home again six months later. That in itself was an exact repeat of what happened after Dad died on 8 January 1985.
Unresolved grief lives at the very heart of my family story.. I feel sad when I see all the reports and notifications of death by violence from News International that come through my phone. Yes, I know there is violence in the world but it seems to me that it grows bigger when we refuse grief and need and feeling expression, and also fail to get the necessary acknowledgement of deeper feelings we carry or act out. I look to the outfall from 9/11 which happened during the opposition of Saturn and Pluto (both of which rule trauma, cut off and death) and think how different things might have been if America grieved and was humble in the face of it all instead of flying off half cocked and seeking retribution.
In dealing with my own complex grief I have had to face that there are very few places I can go with it. I know often I will be shamed. Told ‘to move on’. Told so many things that don’t make sense. But only now do I know that treatment was NOT LOVING, NOT KIND, NOT EMPATHIC. It seemed for so long I was not even allowed to know that. I also know that people who end up as scapegoats will be shame dumped and their inner feelings not recognised.. They may even be demonised for carrying feelings the culture or family or society never allowed. They most often end up as the addicted one or ‘identified patient.’
After the head injury in June 2005 when I sought refuge in Glastonbury, UK in a B and B I met two lovely guys on a very spiritual pathway.. One of them said to me one day. “you know Deborah it seems to me you have the heart of a Sufi, you know well the pain and suffering of the world and you have a heart large enough to contain it.” They also recommended a lecture on grief to me in which the person giving the talk said that in a loving community if someone was outside of themselves in grief or rage, drinking or drugging or falling down in the street, in that community they would be EMBRACE IN LOVE AND GIVEN A PLACE TO BE AND REST. They would not just be shame dumped and pushed away from all love and care. This means their would be insight into and compassion shown for their desperate struggle, or plight.
Sad to say what I see when grief is dumbed down or even silenced with various medications is that that grief get internalised and buried.. When it fails to transform and be moved via speaking of it, writing, dancing or feeling it lies undigested and even lodges in cell tissue as cancer and then our very cells fail to regenerate. What is needed is for grief to find a voice and sometimes just to be embraced in love and self compassion deep within the cavern of the heart..Trying to deny it is there, running around seeking outside ‘fixes’ or cures does not help.. We need in many ways to kneel to grief but also to let it flow out…and even drain away into the earth..Nature is a great container for grief.. I cannot count the number of times a brisk walk has helped me to move my grief out in tears… Today the gardener and I had a lovely conversation about how, at the moment, we see nature renewing itself. After a harsh year of fires last year we now are getting so much rain and nature is loving it. On our walk today I trotted with Jasper through waist high wild flowers that were not there last week, and those multitudes of yellow daisies.. I have never in the past years of being back here in my home town seen so many….
I think we need to start focusing less on disaster scenarios for the world and human beings and more on love… less on the destruction of the planet (lest we create a self fulfilling prophecy). I think for our healing we need more time of slowing down and taking comfort in the healing nature so freely and abundantly provides. I thought today on my walk after another morning of fraught texts with Scott where he slammed me for lack of trust issues how full of love nature is. Its no wonder the traumatised seek refuge there.. To me it seems split off humans are always demanding something to feed their hungry egos, but the cure of lovelessness does not lie in other people, it resides in nature, in the healing love of compassion and self compassion freely given, as well as deep inside our soul quest.
I know this is just my reality right now.. but give me nature any day.. Nature knows how to be itself, it is not instinct injured.. The tree sheds leaves when it is time. The seed sheds its husks.. So must we.. Life is in a constant state of building up only break down again so a new phase can begin.. So why can’t we humans take our lessons from nature as indigenous peoples used to do and do the same? Why struggle so hard to hold on when really what is being asked of us is to live, feel, surrender and allow the letting go and regeneration of life force as it wants to move through us in grief in a natural way of flow.