Reflections

Category: Grief

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Infusion of Grace

The woman who sat in the chair opposite me looked understandably frightened.  It was her first day there, what would become part of her routine over the next several weeks.  Her husband sat beside her holding her hand, stroking her skin gently, reassuringly, as if to say, I am here with you in this and through this.  The nurse sat fixed before them, taking her time to explain the whole process of receiving treatment for cancer, what she should expect, how she would feel. Of course, any words can never do justice to the experience of allowing chemicals to flow through your veins in the quest

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I Heart New York

I suppose in some ways there will always be a part of me that is a New Yorker.  I was born in New York City hospital and grew up in midtown Manhattan, about nine blocks from the United Nations where my father worked as chief of television and radio.  He had grown up in Vienna and when he moved to NYC he never learned to drive because he never needed to.  I didn’t get my driver’s license until I finished college and at 21 was heading across the country for a new adventure in California.  I never thought I would miss the

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The Whirlwind and Tears

Not as much time to write as I had hoped this week, with our first Monthly Gathering tomorrow (with 22 RSVP’s!), then my spiritual direction peer supervision group and women’s group in the afternoon and evening to recharge my soul.  Then Saturday I lead a workshop down at the Priory and stay overnight for our first Oblate meeting of the year on Sunday.  My own little whirlwind of activity, I am grateful for an open week next week to write and to be. In my blog journeying today I found two things that especially touched me, an image and a quote: Art is

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The Grace of Limits

There is irony to be sure, in the fact that yesterday I wrote a post about how helpful walking is for me as a spiritual practice in general, but especially as a part of grieving.  Then last night I pulled a flattened box out from beside the fridge and out popped a strip of wood with four long nails sticking out.  It seems to be the remnants of getting our flooring replaced last March and has been hiding ever since.  I didn’t see the offending nails and stepped right on one with my bare foot and then promptly screeched.  It

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Rituals and Practices for Grieving

When my mother died I felt let down by my church.  It wasn’t even so much my particular parish—we had only been in Seattle a couple of months—as it was the lack of rituals for grieving in the Christian tradition as a whole.  Certainly the funeral was comforting.  Even the month of the dead, which so happened to start twelve days after her death, offered its own solace.  Then there was nothing to guide me.  I could have found a grief support group, even one sponsored by a church.  But I was hungering for something different.  I wanted rituals to

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The Vulnerability of the Body

Grief resides deep in the body.  My sense of loss is palpable. At times my heart literally aches, I breathe deeply letting out heavy sighs for relief, I long for my dog’s warm solid body to hold.  Now it is simply a pile of ashes. When my mother ended up in the ICU unconscious, with pneumonia that had entered her bloodstream and caused kidney and respiratory failure, and the doctors told me that she would never be able to recover from the seriousness of the infection, I knew what I had to do.  I was profoundly grateful for our conversations

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Communion of Saints, Cloud of Witnesses

After my mother died I was very comforted by the image in the Christian Tradition of being surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). I had always loved the image of the Communion of Saints, but suddenly it became much more personal. Certainly I had lost grandparents previously whom I had known, but was not as close to them as to my mother. One of the lovely physical gifts she left to me was a collection of Inuit Soapstone carvings. The Inuit are people who inhabit the Northern regions near the Arctic and are wonderful artists. They depict

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