Ripples #1093: Grief (Love’s Receipt)

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Ripples #1093: Grief
May 4, 2020

Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.
-Glennon Doyle Melton, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

It’s just fine to feel a little heavy, and it’s just fine to sit here and catch my breath, and it’s just fine to be a mess at times, and it’s just fine to be relatively normal sometimes. It’s just fine to miss them. It’s just fine to let it all hit me, surrendering and succumbing. And it’s just fine to remember that grief has no rules, and that really, it will in many ways last as long as love does. Forever. -Lexi Behrndt, shared by Eric in Los Angeles, CA

Over the years, many people have reached out to me in search of support to help themselves or someone they care about who is grieving. Last fall I shared some thoughts on Unimaginable (but not unbearable) Grief (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/permalink/10156607585716662/), and I’ve been gradually assembling a compendium of advice, articles, and quotes for you to use and share as needed: When Grief Happens. (https://www.facebook.com/notes/2691270684531155).

Way back in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic (you know, a couple months ago), I stumbled upon an article that resonated with me and many others: “The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief It is a conversation with grief expert David Kessler who worked with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and who recently identified a sixth stage of grief: Meaning. https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Meaning-Sixth-Stage-Grief/dp/1501192736. The article helped me better understand, anticipate, and manage some of the swirl of emotions that many of us have been experiencing in the last few weeks.

It turns out there are all kinds of losses that are being experienced right now: jobs that have been eliminated, routines and options that are now restricted, and the myriad ways we’ve had to give up our well-established ways of working, studying and living. And then there is the literal loss of life: family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others who have died.

All of these losses, the small ones and the big ones, the temporary and the permanent need to be recognized, acknowledged, and grieved. And extra care must be extended since these losses have come in an already stressful time when we are unable to gather together and support each other. That means feeling all the feels, thinking all the thoughts, and giving space and grace for sadness, frustration, confusion, and hurt. Oh, and celebration to acknowledge the memories and the gifts that are luckily left behind in the face of loss.

I’ll close by dedicating this issue to my mom, the fascinating and remarkable Tootie Wesselmann (1930-2020), who last week went off to play cards in the Great Beyond. I’d prefer not to hear or receive condolences; maybe instead you could extend a little extra compassion and kindness … Read More!

Ripples #912: Handling Anything!

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Ripples #912: Handling Anything.
Nov 14, 2016

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
-James Stephens, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience.
Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.
Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion.
Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back.
Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love.
Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear.
Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.
-Jackson Kiddard, shared by Iyanla Vansant in her show Fix My Life

After this unusually long and particularly challenging election cycle, I think it is safe to say that we’ve landed somewhere that for many of us is UNEXPECTED, UNWANTED, and leaving us UNSURE of what is going to happen next. I had originally planned to make only passing reference to the election outcome and then move on to a new topic this week, but I just couldn’t ignore that so many people are still feeling bewildered, sad, and/or frustrated.

Some people may be confused about why this is so difficult for many Americans. I suspect that things unfolded in a way that has left us with an unprecedented trifecta I mentioned above: this was UNEXPECTED since almost no one predicted this outcome; it was UNWANTED by many people who either voted for another candidate or stayed home because they weren’t sufficiently inspired by anyone who was on the ballot; finally, the combination of the first two has lots of people feeling UNSURE about what is going to happen from here. This has been exasperated by many of the worse-case scenarios that were discussed during the campaign.

While it makes sense that many people expressed concerns about a possible Trump presidency, I personally don’t think it is useful to panic about nightmare scenarios that we created in our attempts to sway voters even though I understand that is a natural consequence of having unleashed them over the past year. I do believe it is worth being concerned and cautious, although there is already some evidence that things are not likely to unfold like the dark plot of some dystopian work of fiction.

Regardless, as the dust settles over the next several days, I think many of us need to make room in our lives to grieve the loss of the outcome we had expected and/or hoped for. Then we can use the (rapidly approaching!) holidays to catch our breath, express gratitude for our blessings, and delight in the joyful and healing spirit that has traditionally accompanied the holidays.

I don’t know exactly what the new year will hold for us, but I know this: many of us have persisted through challenges that at first seemed unbearable. Even if they scarred us, we discovered it was possible to come out on the other side … Read More!

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