Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday's Sayings - What Friends and Family Don't Know to Tell You... Unless They Too Have Lost a Child

Saturday's Sayings

What Friends and Family Don't Know to Tell You...

Unless They Too Have Lost a Child

Grieving is neither an illness
nor a pathological condition,
but rather a highly personal
and normal response
to life-changing events,
a natural process
that can lead to healing
and personal growth.
The transition through this difficult time
is the courageous journey.

~Sandi Caplan and Gordon Lang in Grief's Courageous Journey: A Workbook


"There are three needs of the griever:
To find the words for the loss,
to say the words aloud and
to know that their words have been heard."

~Victoria Alexander


"Deposits of unfinished grief reside in more American hearts than I ever imagined. Until these pockets are opened and their contents aired openly, they block unimagined amounts of human growth and potential. They can give rise to bizarre and unexplained behavior which causes untold internal stress."

~Robert Kavanaugh


"Grieving is a journey that teaches us how to love in a new way now that our loved one is no longer with us. Consciously remembering those who have died is the key that opens the hearts, that allows us to love them in new ways."

~Tom Attig, The Heart of Grief


I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches.
If suffering alone taught,
all the world would be wise,
since everyone suffers.
To suffering must be added
  • mourning,
  • understanding,
  • patience,
  • love,
  • openness and
  • the willingness to remain vulnerable.

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Grief still has to be worked through.
It is like walking through water.
Sometimes there are little waves lapping about my feet.
Sometimes there is an enormous breaker that knocks me down.
Sometimes there is a sudden and fierce squall.
But I know that many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it.
We are not good about admitting grief, we Americans.
It is embarrassing.
We turn away, afraid that it might happen to us.
But it is part of life, and it has to be gone through.

~Madeleine L'Engle, in Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage


The heart of grief,
its most difficult challenge,
is not "letting go" of those who have died
but instead making the transition
from loving in presence
to loving in separation.

~Thomas Attig, in The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love


I am a parent twice bereaved.
In one thirteen-month period
I lost my oldest son to suicide and
my youngest son to leukemia.
Grief has taught me many things about
the fragility of life
and the finality of death.
To lose that which means the most to us
is a lesson in helplessness and humility and survival.
After being stripped of any illusions
of control I might have harbored,
I had to decide what questions were still worth asking.
I quickly realized that the most obvious ones --
Why my sons? Why me? --
were as pointless as they were inevitable.
Any appeal to fairness was absurd.
I was led by my fellow sufferers,
those I loved and those who had also
endured irredeemable losses,
to find reasons to go on.
Like all who mourn
I learned an abiding hatred for the word "closure,"
with its comforting implications
that grief is a time-limited process
from which we will all recover.
The idea that I could reach a point
when I would no longer miss my child
was obscene to me and I dismissed it.
I had to accept the reality that I would
never be the same person,
that some part of my heart, perhaps the best part,
had been cut out and buried with my sons.
What was left?
Now there was a question worth contemplating.

~Gordon Livingston, M.D.,
in Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart:
Thirty True Things You Need to Know

Picture, thanks to Grieving Mothers
Several of the quotes are thanks to


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