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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in grief

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_DarkMother-lowres.jpgAcross the many pantheons and even within single traditions, there are more than a few goddesses to be found personifying sorrow and grief. We can look to these mournful deities to help us through our own times of unhappiness, from mild melancholia to the throes of despair and even to the rising up and moving forward after the worst of the grieving has passed. In our times of need, we can turn to these goddesses for compassion, strength and renewal.

In the Christian tradition Mary bears seven sorrows as a mother who must accept the destiny of her son. Early in Jesus’s life, they are the typical sorrows of any mother, but Mary's heroic strength through the inconceivable grief of his persecution and execution is said to have prepared her heart for the joy of Christ’s resurrection. As a mother I can only imagine the depth of her pain, both emotional and physical. Her stoic countenance tells all. In the hostile atmosphere, she dare not carry on in fits of anguish lest she too be persecuted. Yet it is not likely that fear for her own safety restrained her as much as the knowledge that her son did not need one more added burden; that of worry over the wellbeing of his mother.

We see the same stoic courage on the faces of parents whose child has terminal cancer or other life stealing condition; remaining strong at all costs for the sake of the child. My own brother bade us all not to cry in the final days he had left before succumbing to leukemia. Perhaps bearing our sorrow was one more grief he himself could not stand.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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On Wednesday, I placed a soft blanket on my lap.  I invited my cat to be comforted. His breath was labored. His body was clearly shutting down. The will to live is stronger than any other emotion or drive. He wanted to live. He was bewildered. He knew he was losing the battle. He collapsed on the blanket, took two long inhales and let out a long moan that was the end of his life. The sound of death is perhaps unlike any other. The sound of that sigh – I cannot describe. Poetry has no language here - my words utter only stupid rhetoric. To experience this is more than can be expressed, but I try. I try because it is vastly important to me to know what death is and to not hate life for its cruel finality. Right now, it is difficult to feel peace with this life. I struggle to understand why - despite the ache of the body and the deep, known suffering - the will to live is so strong. When he passed, it was not like some say, this ethereal light leaving. His eyes shone bright. His body, warm. It was my light that diminished. My eyes were those that shut, unwilling to see the end. I could not sense the sweat and blood, or hear the hum of awaiting insects near the dirt that would cover him.

Most of my life I have been afraid of getting close to anyone. I covered my pain in drugs and alcohol, escape and romance. I hated my body - the body that knows everything - the cells that die and generate, the hold of lonesome evenings, the sharp brutality of disease and ache. Death has been marked in my life with distinct dreams of an understanding my body knew but my mind refused. My paternal grandfather died when I was 16. I remember a dream I had immediately following his passing. He sat in his armchair and warned me of events to come. Later, I would dream of my paternal grandmother who asked me to refute the truth. When I said I would not, her body fell into the earth as I tried to hold her. With each attempt to catch her fall, she fell deeper and farther away from me. My maternal grandfather died a few years ago and I went for a drive along the Sierra Estella mountain range. Somehow I knew he was there, up among those gneiss and schist peaks, looking over the desert valley, a terrain that must have seemed so stark and foreign to him. Whether the Estrella's were the projection of my grandfather's strength, or he was actually there - watching over me one last time - matters little. He was there when I was born. I was to witness his departure. It's an unspoken deal we make in love and community - offering protection only to know there are some things our efforts can never overcome.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Aleah, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I just lost my own kitty, and know how it feels. I also commend you for selflessly using y
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    It's been awhile since I've read something reminding me of my dearest Ginger's sigh as she died. How you can't really describe it
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    This was a beautiful meditation. I appreciate your experience and thank you for sharing it.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I Sit Exhausted on This Longest Night

My big plan was to finish up some loose ends so that I could truly enjoy my first winter holiday season in town, not working retail. Daughter was coming home, holiday cards were mailed away...even the weather was nice.

Did your December deviate from the plan, too?  There have been unexpected rituals, several funerals, more than one friend or circle mate whose life took a turn for the...challenging.

We did manage a Witches Night Out a couple of weeks ago but that seems like it happened in another life. Oy vey, as they say.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for that. Blessings to you!
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I don't have any big words, just silent support from across the pond. You're in my thoughts and prayers, as is everyone else who h

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Warrior's Grief

I ease my students into Beowulf by having them read the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Wanderer' first. It's a great introduction to the warrior ethos that the longer narrative celebrates, but in a short form. It's a poem about grief but the first thing we'll notice is that the loss mourned isn't a partner, child or parent, but the narrator's leader.

Wyrd bið ful aræd!       Fate always goes as it must!

The center of the warrior's life is a relationship the Roman historian Tacitus named comitatus when he first observed it in the continental Germanic tribes. A leader gained followers by offering them praise and treasures for courageous behaviour in battle. They rewarded him with their loyalty. It was the center of their lives; it also took a central role in the poetry of the era.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    We don't hear enough about the sanctity and beauty of the warrior ethic from these traditions. You know how much I love "Beowulf"
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thank you, my dear. This piece actually motivated me to kick off a series on Hávamál, so I hope you'll find that appealing as well
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Really great information here. Lots to take in and consider.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The season of death

Ear (Ground) is loathsome to all men,
yet certainly the body will be set upon there,
the corpse grows cold, the soil accepts its pale bedfellow;
leaves fall, pleasures depart, men cease to be. 

 - Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem

I will be posting a follow-up to my thoughts on establishing a hearth, as promised, but in the meantime life has intervened and supplied a subject matter that has to take precedence, since it's all I can spare any degree of deep thought for right now.  That subject, of course, is (as my title indicates) the one that naturally trumps all others: death.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Er, and in my comment above, I meant to type "he."
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Theresa and Rose, thank you both so much for your condolences! And Rose, thank you for sharing the pics of Sunshine; what a pret
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    Here's a link to my FB album for Sunshine. In case you want to see him. I've even got bitty kitten pics! https://www.facebook.co

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