By Chantelle Todman Moore, Intercultural Leadership Coach
I have struggled with grief; I still do. Growing up as a Christian, I learned platitudes in response to grief. But they never gave me the tools I needed to be present with myself, community, and the myriad of feelings and experiences that grief entails.
Life has slowed down for me during this pandemic. With new reasons to grieve on a daily basis, I am finding that I have more capacity to engage and explore personal and communal grief. I am finding guidance and wisdom through conversations with others and reading about grief.
Two books that are bringing me comfort, lessening the feelings of grief isolation, and allowing the tears to flow are The Book of Solace by Dane Kuttler and Rebellious Mourning: the Collective Work of Grief, an anthology edited by Cindy Milstein.
The Book of Solace was gifted to me this past holiday season. In turn, I gifted my copy to another person whom, at the beginning of the pandemic, lost their brother to illness. The wisdom of this book has accompanied me when grief caught me off guard in the middle of completing a task and has been shared with others as they wrestle to make sense of what cannot be tied up into a neat bow. I was also gifted The Book of Solace and have read the contributions with tears streaming down my face. These texts speak to the hard spaces where grief finds us and takes us, as part of the human experience.
Our grief and our mourning is both personal and unique as well as collective and ordinary. Beyond reading and talking with others, additional practices that are holding me in my grief is finding ways to see the potential for transformation for myself and our world. I am planting seeds with my family in our raised beds, making and enjoying delicious meals, finding ways to rest and enjoy pleasurable things.
As most of us shelter at home, there is unreserved access to media. But grief needs stillness and silence. Many things can distract yourself from grief. So I am opening myself up to moments of silence: sitting in my yard, going for walks, and listening to the wind, all while resting and quieting a mind and heart that wants to keep racing for answers and solutions.
I invite you to name what you are grieving both personally and communally right now. Open up yourself to see where grief is leading, teaching, and softening you for transformation.