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The Loneliness of Grief

June 24, 2019

 

One of the most common things I hear about grief is how lonely it feels. Just today, again, I received an email signed this way: "Alone. I'm all alone in my grief."

 

"Alone. I'm all alone in my grief."

 

There is, indeed, a quality to grief that feels lonely, at least some of that, necessarily so because no one else can bear the weight of grief for us.

 

So, in a way, we are alone.

 

In another way, we aren't alone. We aren't alone because grief is a common suffering we all share in a Oneness that extends back through history and moves into this very moment of now.

 

The bereaved are men and the bereaved are women and the bereaved are gender-free...

 

The bereaved are old, young, adults, and children.

 

We are Democrat, Republic, Libertarian, Independent, Green, Apolitical, and ...

 

We are rich, and poor, and middle class, and classless.

 

We are Christian, and Jewish, and Muslim, and Buddhist, and Sikh, and Hindu, and Wiccan, and Atheist, and ...

We are employed, and unemployed, and partially employed, and gainfully and recklessly employed.

 

We are Irish, and Native, and African, and French, and Haitian, and Romanian, and Canadian, and Spanish, and Columbian, and Brazilian, and Romanian, and Australian, and British, and Tibetan, and Italian, and Mexican, and Germanic, and Norwegian, and Jamaican, and ...

 

We are high school educated, we are college educated, we are post graduate educated, and we are streetwise...

We speak one language or many languages, and we are from all parts of our Planet Earth.

We are young, and middle aged, and old, even facing our own death.

 

We are from the north, the south, the east, and the west.

We are a family of one, and two, and three, and ten...

 

We are traditional and non-traditional, one mom, two moms, mom and dad, one dad, two dads, and all variations of 'family'.

 

We are engineers, and janitors, and doctors, and teachers, and firefighters, and lawyers, and athletes, and marketers, and taxi drivers, and pastors, and rabbis, and elected officials, and administrators, and nurses, and maids, and childcare providers, and artists, and poets, and landscapers and...

 

We are tall, short, and medium, and emaciated and healthy and round and obese.

 

The bereaved surround us all, people just like you and just like me. They are all around us, everyday. Everywhere we go, they are there, but you may not see them, and they may not see us.

 

Many have suffered a reality that others dare not imagine. Yet so many of us have lived it and we do not know as we stand in the grocery line that the person behind us has a wound like our own.

 

Our children have died from birth to toddlerhood. From toddlerhood to young childhood. From young childhood to the teens. From the teens to young adulthood. From young adulthood into middle and late adulthood. 

 

Our parents died too soon or too violently. 

 

Our partners were taken from us by a perpetrator or by choice or by disease or by accident. 

 

For many of us, loss is anachronistic, out of time, out of place. We know the worse outcomes of cancer, and stillbirth, and fires, and car crashes, and SIDS, and murder, and suicide, and drug overdose, and drowning, and disease, and premature birth, and wars, and natural disasters, and congenital anomalies and...

 

Despite all the differences in who we used to be...

 

Now, we are together in grief. We are bereaved parents. And siblings. And grandparents. And children. And spouses. And aunts, uncles, godparents, friends. And our lives will never, ever, ever be the same. This common thread is woven through our lives, and will remain part of our painful tapestry from generation to generation.

We are one, despite our differences. Our grief unites us and traverses all other more superficial differences. 

 

And I truly believe it is those who have suffered most deeply who can, one day, change the world because of that sense of connection in Oneness and the compassion that unfurls when we keep our hearts open.

 

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