Grief and sacred milkshakes.

“Recovery is one day realizing that your ability to talk about the loss you’ve experienced is indeed normal and healthy.” (The Grief Recovery Handbook, James & Freidman, pg.7)

A few weeks ago I was talking with my therapist about grief and all its forms. In that conversation, I remembered times where I was able to allow myself to move from grief into the recovery stage: that moment when I remember feeling physical shifts in my being all because I had dealt with my grief and it no longer consumed me. That doesn’t mean I never have it anymore or that by letting go of one form of grief I’m not still grieving something else.

The reality is that on some level we are all grieving something, someone, or somewhere.

I remember the first time I was able to talk about my experience from a former job that I had left in a time of difficulty. It was painful for all involved and I had to get out. But I had enormous amounts of grief because of it. For two years after, there wasn’t a time I could talk about where I didn’t end up in tears. It hurt so much and the grief was real. The first time I was able to talk about my situation and the affect it had on me, I remember feeling lighter than air. It was like giant weights had been lifted right off my back. It was an incredible feeling. That was the moment I was able to no longer allow my grief to hold onto me.

In our pews, there are people grieving all the time from things we might never know about. Jesus grieved over Lazarus. God grieves on a daily basis at our wrongdoings as humans. Everyone grieves. It’s normal and natural. So why don’t we talk about it more? Probably, because it’s hard.

I want to be part of communities that talk about their grief. I want to be part of sacred spaces that can name it and live with it in healthy ways.

Yesterday, I met with someone who was grieving the loss of a beloved family member. So, in that person’s memory, we had milkshakes because that’s what the deceased would have wanted. Sometimes grief comes in the form of drinking a sacred milkshake with another human and recognizing the hurt that exists, and yet remembering the good and the hope there is in life.

May we all have our own form of sacred milkshakes, where we recognize and acknowledge the grief, and find ways to process it, heal from it, and allow it to be lifted from us, whenever it’s time.

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