12.11.2009

Good Grief!




Grief is a river
Constantly flowing, flowing...

Connecting all hearts.


These last few days, grief had been my visitor. And yes, I welcomed them. 

First there was mom's worsening dementia which I witnessed in person when I visited the Bay Area for Thanksgiving. The process of going through end-of-life decisions (where does she live, who will take care of her) took me to a wild spin. Not mentioning... grief.

Then, I went to Memphis to co-lead a workshop involving my book with the other authors of the series Active Prayer. There I heard soul music, visited Graceland where Elvis Lives, and for meditation, I walked the Mississippi River and listened to Old Man River himself. There I saw the Memphis poor and their chronically homeless folks. But this town also showed me soul. They are tender, loving people who live through music and art and food and each other's company. Yes, there is crime. But is that surprising in a poor town?


Then I get an email from a dear friend who is scared because this is the first time in her life she is wondering how she's going to pay for her next month's bills. And last night, a yoga friend whom I haven't seen for 9 years, asked me to jon him for dinner at a pancake house. There he told me the story of how her wife passed away a few days back. He showed me the tattoos she created on his body. Fantastic tattoo artist. I wish I knew her when she was still active. I've been thinking about having a tattoo. 


Grief followed me, called me, emailed me, talked with me, looked at me with teary eyes, and once or twice, with old, tired, blank eyes. I welcomed her to sit by me. I settled myself down to listen. That's the least one can do when one knows not what to do... stay out of the way.


So today, I sat down for meditation. Tears poured. For my mom, for the poor of Memphis, for my economically challenged friend, for my widowed friend. And for all who is suffering in one way or the other. For those in pain, I inhaled the heat of their tears, the shortness of their breaths, the tightness of their hearts. And I breathed out space, light, hugs, smiles. And I chanted "The Lord is my light and my salvation... of whom shall I be afraid" over and over again.


How about you? What is your relationship with grief? Do you try to get busy when grief comes visiting? Or do you pause, sit down, and listen to her stories?