I've had several occasions lately to consider the necessity of grieving. I do not do it well, sometimes not at all. When things are painful, I shift into low gear and keep going. Then, one fine morning I wake up feeling very tired and I wonder why.
We had a guest at Clare's Well recently who came for "time out." He shared that his wife is in the end stages of breast cancer. His grief was deep, buried in his effort to "be there for her."
It was the day after he left that I sat with myself and realized I felt very sad for him. The deluge of my tears, however, was out of proportion to my concern for him and his wife. I was startled as I journaled to see I hadn't connected with the fact that a few days earlir I'd visited two Sister friends in Little Falls who are dying. Sister Deb is my classmate and oftimes vacation companion. Sister Mary Ellen has been my mentor and friend from my first days in community over 50 years ago. Two who have been so significant in my own life's journey are about to die. How am I responding to this impending loss? I visited them and more or less "left them in Little Falls."
As Sister Sharon chided during a recent discussion on how we handle the deaths of so many of our Sisters (about ten a year), "We bury them and go back to work!" We are faced death and grief all around. I am as guilty as anyone of swallowing hard and "getting on with life." Once I realized that was exactly what I was doing now, I shared with Sisters Carol and Paula about how sad I feel for the inevitable deaths of Deb and Mary Ellen. I do better not trying to grieve alone. I see how debilitating it is to "stuff' sadness. Thanks to our guest who shared his grief with us and helped me get in touch with my own. I am still very sad, but I know I am and I have a little more bounce in my step, too.