Another Grief Camp

D5911488-2808-49D0-A07B-7F6B9F1F23FDAnother camp. Another group of families who are sharing the rawness of their grief with total strangers.

Friday evening always tenuous. Will they show up? Will they stay? Will they engage, or will they walk away?

Saturday brings tentativeness, as we gather in our first large circle – the names are spoken out loud and the tears flow once again.

The circle transforms into smaller ones… small circles to allow the stories to be fully told. Small circles of emotional release, may it be anger, frustration, deep sadness, and yes, even the occasional laughter.

We flow back into the large circle and then return to the smaller ones… kind of like grief. Sometimes it is BIG grief, and sometimes it is contained in a smaller, more manageable form.

We learn that circles are sacred and all emotions are okay. We can be angry beyond words, and we can find ourselves irritated by unintentional behaviors of others. We can find compassion for others, and for a few moments, forget our own pain and suffering.

We also receive that same compassion ten-fold back to us. We find inklings of hope to move forward in this new phase of life that none of us signed up for willingly.

Yes, we know death is a part of this thing called life, but when it happens to us, we are not fully prepared. Our grief goes into the depths of despair because of the deep love we shared.

As I write this on Sunday morning, two bald eagles soared in unison outside of my window, gently gliding above in the sky,  and then plummeting down to the river.

“Eagle conveys the powers and messages of the spirit; it is man’s connection to the divine because it flies higher than any other bird… If eagle has appeared, it bestows freedom and courage to look ahead.”

My wish for all is to know that beneath these times of grief, you will sometimes plummet like the eagle, and when you do, please find that which sustains you… a friend, a hug, a prayer, a walk, or just a good cry.

My hope is you will find your way to glide like these eagles, and after you plummet, you will rise with renewed courage and a sense of freedom, however brief, from the heaviness of grief.

Lastly, as we enter into the season of giving thanks, I know it will not be easy to feel gratitude at times… and that is way okay. Just tell yourself you are thankful each day, every day. Fake it ‘til you make it, and then one day your gratitude will be honest and true. Your heart will lighten, and you will know that you are blessed and loved beyond measure.

Thank you to all who shared their journey at our camp, whether it was from a camp in the past, or the one this weekend, and please know, we who are here to serve, walk away with so much more than what we arrived with in our hearts.

I bow my head and flow love from my heart, in deep gratitude, for allowing me into your life at this time…

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