I’ve been moving through a grief timeline. And I had forgotten what acute grief tastes like.
On Friday morning, quite suddenly we had to say goodbye to one of my beloved dogs. He had been my companion for almost 12 of his 13 years.
I was shattered.
My belly felt hollow, my heart literally heavy in my chest. The waves of tears then almost flat like numbness moved through. I held my other dog close. I canceled everything and let myself be in the grief.
There is medicine in grief. It is uncomfortable. It is painful. Yet it sharpens the edges of the world around us. Of the important things. All the while softening the edges of the things that are more mundane.
My love becomes amplified, my heart more open and even in the moments of tears I can feel that this pain is really just the other side of love.
When we allow ourselves to love with our whole beings we will grieve a loss of that relationship with our whole beings.
My Dad died 10 and a half years ago, and although I had experienced losses before he died, I don’t think I had ever truly profoundly grieved. I had never lost someone so deeply woven into the fabric of who I was.
In the aftermath, in the depths of my grief, I felt the grace that resides at the core of such pain and love and love and pain. I told my dear friend, “I don’t ever want to stop feeling like this. I don’t ever want to forget this experience”. It felt sacred.
There have been some profound losses since my Dad. And each new grief has had the ability to bring up old griefs. To reignite. To help us remember.
My dog Gunner was my companion and my friend and he loved me with his whole self, which made it really damn easy to love him right back with fierceness. He was also my Dad’s dog before he was mine (although once we met I knew he was always mine). And so the potent combination of love and loss and memory have left me grief sick, my senses heightened and dulled simultaneously. The dance of the heart open and broken unfolding within.
In her book For Small Creatures Such as We , Sasha Sagan writes “In every inhabited corner of the Earth, human beings have created rituals to give order and meaning to existence.”
And she is so right. And this is what I am trying to do with my grief. Create rituals and offerings and memorials.
And somehow in the middle of all of this a web unfolds between worlds, bridging life and death, magic and mundane, science and spirit. Grief can be a portal taking us out of time and space.
What is Remembered Lives
When we remember those we have lost they continue to live on.
When we tell stories about them, make their favorite recipes, whisper messages to them on the wind, we are not only building a bridge between the world and the next, but we are tending to our sacred grief. We are letting the energy of our love continue to flow.
When we laugh aloud because of something a loved one once said or did, we are inviting in the joy of the love we shared and allowing it to gently temper the sharp edges of loss.
And I believe, when we do any of these things our beloved dead hear and feel us too.
The invitation here is to tell the story aloud to the natural world or your four walls or to another living breathing being. Cook the food. Play the song. Remember.
Once upon a time I created a class called Honoring Your Sacred Grief. Saturday I went back through this class and reminded myself of some of the tools and rituals I have to work with the energy of this loss.
If you are moving through loss, new or old and wanting to create ritual and magic with your grief, I have marked this class down to $17, but if you need it right now and even this amount feels out of reach, reply to this email and let me know
I hope this offers you some new medicine for your own grief journey.
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Emily Morrison MA, MFT