“Grief expressed out loud for someone or something we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honours what it misses.”
– Martin Prechtel
Grief is a natural human response to the experience of losing something or someone we loved. It enters our life in many ways: divorce, miscarriage, infertility, job loss, the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one. No one moves throughout their life without being visited by the experience of loss.
As young people, very few of us were taught what it means to be in relationship with our grief and how to hold our sorrows with reverence and compassion. Grief is asking us to move deeper into ourselves. We are being invited to fully embrace our sorrow and move through our experiences of loss with true awareness and presence. However, we live in a culture that provides us with many distractions and teaches us multiple ways to practice avoidance. Learning to welcome the experience of grief and allow it to deepen us and soften our hearts requires great courage.
There are times when it is necessary to be alone with our sadness but when we find ourselves in the deep waters of grief it is also essential to seek out people who can hold it with us. Each of us naturally longs for the experience of having our stories heard and our grief witnessed. Across multiple cultures and time periods people have shared a common understanding that grief is meant to be a communal experience and that the heavy lifting grief demands of us should never be done entirely in solitude. We have lost sight of this in our culture and have been conditioned to believe that grief is a private event which we are required to manage on our own. Every one of us knows loss and our shared human experience of grief can bring us back into intimacy and connection with each other.