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Grief in the Life Journey

June 30, 2010 by admin  
Filed under From Our Members

I am often struck at how life’s experiences are all so interconnected within each individual person. We are indeed a tangle of experiences, and it is up to us what we do with those bundles, and how much we recognize the gifts in all of them, regardless of whether we name them in sorrow or in joy. I so appreciate Kahlil Gibran’s words, in The Prophet, when he says, Joy and sorrow are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed

I truly believe our greatest opportunity for personal and spiritual growth rests in our deepest trials, because we are forever changed by them, whether we want to be or not. Life roughs us up, or shakes us out of our lethargic shoes sometimes, and although it doesn’t feel like a good thing at the time; it could, with hard work, be shaped into an eventual exercise of deep and sacred meaning. There are so many things that are indeed out of our hands…

A few weeks ago, I attended the 35th reunion of my graduation as a registered nurse. Although I had not returned for 30 years, many faces were all essentially unchanged. The humor and seriousness of our dialogue, however, had changed significantly. Nearly all my classmates were still working in nursing, but it was pictures of grandchildren that were shown with the greatest pride. Not yet a grandmother myself, I was not to be outdone, as my daughter’s impending graduation with distinction in nursing degree nears its completion. She is the third generation of registered nurses in our family.

What I saw was that we were wiser and humble in our gratitude for what life had given us as women and as nurses. Some had opened wounds that needed healing from long ago, and others were just realizing the significance and importance of their healing to their present life enhancement. Losses abounded in the group, mostly of parents and siblings, especially to cancer. I knew we had all cared for many patients in their dying process over the years, and they had left their mark on us as women as well. Humour was present and quick in its unique brand specific to nurses. Some things never change!

With my husband’s retirement last week, I was shown again how one life can affect so many people, without even trying to influence or impress. It was humbling to see how deeply my husband was appreciated by those in his field of work; there is no doubt he has left a deep and lasting impression in his profession. He will be missed as a steadfast listener, colleague and mentor, as well as for his friendship and the sharp, quick humor of his wit.

Retirement is something he’s looked forward to for years, and yet he was reluctant to leave. Change is difficult, especially when one’s future is left as an open playing field to enjoy what we never had time for before! Now all that has changed and I look forward to watching him fulfill his dreams in volunteer work and travel.

Soon enough it will be my turn, and I hope my time will be filled, not so much with looking back on a profession well lived, but on creating new memories of a different kind. Although grief has come at many times during my life without invitation, it is the grief at end of life I most hope to avoid. This grief of regret is avoidable if I live life to the fullest opportunity I’m given every day. And when we no longer have the time or ability to live life and experience the world as we wish, we need to accept our role of responsibility in that, harsh as it may sound. This is why I believe it is vital to live and experience life while we have that gift of choice. Through the grieving process of significant loss, we are often reminded that love, life experience and health, when taken for granted, is something we may also live to regret.

Copyright ©2010 Corry Roach

Corry Roach’s website, www.ByGraceofMourning.ca offers personal and professional insight and education into the grief journey for those who mourn, from professionals to the bereaved and all who love them. Although the main focus is bereavement, loss of loved ones (or parts of ourselves) to terminal illness, dementia, aging, divorce/relationships/addictions are also discussed, as well as how to offer support. Grief resolution within ourselves is imperative, enriching our lives with personal empowerment as we work toward a life of spiritual meaning and inner peace.

Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau want to know if you've got what it takes to step up and be a leader in the new world transformation. CLICK HERE to find out.

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