I’ve noticed that related life events often come in droves, grouped together, one after the other, almost as if the lesson within is demanding to be seen, heard and acknowledged. I’ve come to see that it’s more than pattern recognition or coincidence. It’s as though life says, “Look here human, come hell or high water, you better listen up. Now.” It appears that the lessons I’m supposed to be aware of right now surround death.
Within the past month, two family members have passed away. Three weeks ago, I witnessed the aftermath of a fatal car crash and yesterday, a man was shot on the street opposite my family home. My eyes have now laid upon four lifeless human bodies in under one month. I feel as though I have no choice but to meet grief face to face.
But, what does that even mean and how do I do that?
Over my 28 years of living, grief is not a process that I’ve become familiar with as I have not lost anyone within my inner circle of family or friends (people who I interact with daily). Because of this, I feel as if I’m in some sort of middle ground where sadness is there but not fully. I feel the weight of it the most once I imagine what it must be like for my family who are experiencing this loss directly and viscerally. I’m trying to give myself that space to feel while also figuring out what I can do to help.
On my morning walk today, I listened to Tim Ferriss in conversation with Jack Kornfield, a Buddhist teacher. They spoke on anxiety and how we can begin to cope with it. I found the approaches helpful and thought I could try approaching grief in the same way. Here are some practices adapted and taken from the episode’s show notes:
I also find comfort in this passage by Jeff Foster. I remember including a printout of it in sympathy cards that I made for customers in the past because I hoped it would ease their pain, even if just for a moment.
When a loved one passes, do not worry. Weep, wail, scream, yes, honour their memory, but do not worry. They haven’t gone anywhere, strictly speaking. They have simply lost location and time. You can no longer pin them down, say ‘there they are’, find them in their materiality, seek them in your personal world. But you see, they were never tied to their bodies in the first place. Their arms, their legs, their brain, their fingers, their blood, their kidneys – these were not the things that defined them. You loved the physical, yes, you were attached to it, you expected it to continue, but it was not all of your love. You are being called now to remember a deeper love, a universal love, a love that is not attached to form, a love that knows no bounds. A love that does not flee into past and future, but remains so very present as you go about your days. A love that does not depend on word nor place, that follows you wherever you go, that is inseparable from your very own presence, that whispers in your ear late at night… I AM HERE. Do not search for your loved one in time nor space, friend, do not reach for them and find them absent. They are closer than all that. It will take a while to readjust to their formlessness, of course. You will be called to let go of dreams, yes, and there will be much pain to be felt, much grief to explore with courage and willingness. Get ready to break open for love! But, oh, the joy of discovering your loved one right where you left them! And the excitement of a relationship shattering open into the Infinite! Know they cannot leave you! Know they never will! For they are in your presence, and you in theirs! — Jeff Foster
For now, I’m being more mindful and intentional with how I spend my time and trying to open up more to grief. It’s so easy these days to allow myself to be distracted instead of being present. I’m still engaging in the activities that light me up: forming a community of like-minded individuals, building my business by working through my first offer, going back to engaging on social media, but only if I truly feel that I want to do those things in the moment. I’m prioritising family time and just cherishing the beauty of the people around me.
To grief, I say, “Thank you for introducing yourself. What have you got to teach me?”
Last updated: January 16th, 2024. Write your own now page.
My 29th Year
I am now living through the last year of my 20s. It's comical to ponder that I thought I would have my life all "figured out" by now. I don't, and I'm finding that I am more and more okay with this fact. There is an underlying evolution rumbling within me and witnessing it unfold is a fascinating process.
After leaving medicine last year, I am enjoying the freedom of self-employment and continuing on in the journey of establishing consistent work online. I'm using my innate skills to create courses around the digital tools that I find joy using and to find work as a digital business manager and Notion consultant.
Writing is lighting me up and I'm using my spare time to learn photography.