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Friday, 8 July 2011

Having a Grief Symbol

In my last post, I was thinking about our need to cry when we are grieving. I also mentioned that we tend to carry our grief in silence, day in and day out. Which brings me to an important point: we, and we alone, must give ourselves permission to grieve. Our society will try its best to deny us our right to grieve by telling us we should be "over that by now." This telling comes in many different guises. Often we get that message as much by silence as by actual spoken words. We find our friends and relatives no longer ask how we're doing. We find they won't talk about our deceased loved one. We find they can't bear to hear us rehearse the story one more time.
This is why I find it important to find a grief symbol that I can wear or carry with me. It reminds me of the fact that I am grieving, much like the wearing of a black armband used to do. In some cultures widows still wear black to the day they die. In the west, we need to find our own ways of wearing black. For me, it's a necklace, with 3 pendants. I bought all three pendants, one for myself and one for each of two parnters. The other two women have died, so I find myself in possession of all three pendants once again. Whenever someone close to me dies, I wear the necklace for at least six months.
The symbol my be something else, something you do, like a bubble bath, or attending a play. I believe that when Jesus was telling his disciples, "When you do this, remember me," he was giving them a grief symbol. Find out what "this" is, that will allow you to remember your beloved, and spend time with your grief.

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