Grief. It will strike us all.
It enters when we least expect it and leaves without notice - And returns again unexpectedly.
How do we “do” grief? I mean, there are websites on how to get married and the list of things to do, on how to have a baby, and the list of things to do, and how to buy a home, and a list of things to do. But grief,... where does it fit in? As a human, we of course do not want to experience grief. It's not one of the “fun” emotions. If we are lucky, we escape grief as a kid. I was 22 years old before I experienced grief for the first time. My grandfather died. I cried. Then I stopped. And because my father doesn't “do” grief, he decided there would be no funeral. No gathering to say goodbye, nothing. And so the grief just sat there with no where to go and as a young adult, I had no idea what to do with it. So I didn't do anything.
[In less than 11 years, my mom, dad and first husband were all deceased.
This is Thanksgiving, 2001.]
Then came my first husband's death at age 35, then my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer six weeks after his death, and I had to jump in and take care of her for 4 years. Then my dad started his decline and died just this year. 4 months after he died, my only sibling was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
How is there time to grieve, caretake - oh yeah - and have a family and a career, and move through the grieving process? The only answer I have found is to find sacred places and to be in nature.
I hike. A lot. I sit in nature with the trees and the sounds and know that it is quiet enough to commune with those who have passed. To find my center and my peace amongst the intensity of life, including the deep grief. I travel and search out those quiet sacred places that I can feel Spirit.
[View from my home in NC and always a reminder that in nature, all things are possible.]
I am always looking for places to go. To seek that quiet and safe place in mother nature where I can start to make sense of the world again. It is my lifeline.
When a friend shared with me about Ebenezer Chapel, I thought, I want to BE there. I need to be there. Another place to heal. A safe place to heal. This.
Whitney Madden is a resilient wife, mom, friend, and practitioner who cares for others via her skills as an acupuncturist, compassionate human, and owner of Source for Well-Being.