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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Grief at work

In the staff room the other day, I mentioned starting this blog. Immediately, every person at the table started talking about grief, and about how agonizing it is, and how little we know about it. Only one person knew that the grieving process takes a minimum of 2 years, just to "get through." Everyone agreed that you never "get over" the loss of someone deeply loved; the pain just gets less invasive and more bearable.
What struck me, yet again, is how little we share with each other what is actually going on in our lives. When did, "Fine, thanks." become the only appropriate answer to, "How are you?" I think there is a belief in all of us that we couldn't possible cope with each others' grief, let alone stay present to our own and be honest about it. We believe that we would be overwhelmed by the weight of it all, that we would somehow drown in the sadness. I am beginning to suspect, however, that we refuse to stay open to our pain and the pain of others at a terrible price; the price of our mind, body, spirit wholeness. We numb ourselves, hide ourselves, protect ourselves with food, alcohol, pills, work, sex, and a host of other escapes. Then we wonder why we have no energy, carry so much weight, use so many OTC drugs, and why the checkout person at the liquor store knows us by sight. I believe our route to healing many of these things lies directly through the grief we are trying to hide from. To paraphrase Ghandi, the only way through is through. I suspect that this journey I am on now is one of creating my own road- map through to my deepest self. Too bad we have no GPS for the life of the soul.

1 comment:

  1. There has been so much grief in my life and my office lately. The grief of loosing colleagues to budget cuts, a couple who lost their daughter to a lifelong disability, a colleage whose brother and nephew were killed in a car accident, another colleague whose mother is fighting cancer in South America, my own grief over the loss of my mother, uncle, aunt, and two very close family friends all in the last 3 years, and a good friend who is struggling with terminal cancer. Talking about it at work, with friends, and at home is crucial for me. I don't think I would survive without that lifeline.....but at the same time, I fight against talking about it, often choosing instead to get lost in silence, food, television, or sleep. Depression and anger seem to be the only results when I avoid talking about the grief, which wakes me up to TALK!!! And then some semblance of life returns...

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