|A beautiful table top at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn|
This is Day 48 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
Today I'm thinking a lot about the deep patterns of sorrow and grief. Even though it is heartbreaking, there is a solace in realizing that I am not the first to go through this pain. There are hundreds of thousands of widows past and present, who have survived the death of their beloveds. They spiral back, deep into history. We are all forced to face a new life alone. We are forced to remember how to do everything by ourselves. We are forced to feel our inner strength and resolve.
Grief is like a spiral. Almost daily, I spiral down into my deep grief, sometimes staying in bed all day crying and watching movies. Other days, I can spiral back up out of the depths and get out to the grocery store, and pull some weeds in the garden and laugh with friends. I always know that I am in this spiral and that things could change at any moment. This used to really frighten and overwhelm me, but I have become much more accustomed to the shifting moving places of my emotions.
|Newgrange kerbstones via Newgrange.com|
The spiral has always been one of the most powerful and important symbols of my life. It's an ancient concept, representing the cyclical nature of life - everything ends and everything begins again, just like the moon cycle, our menstrual cycles, the seasons, and on and on. And spirals have been carved and drawn and painted since the beginning of culture, art and making. We have found spirals engraved on small ornaments and on megalithic stones. The Newgrange kerbstones are decorated with spirals, providing an entrance to a sacred space. J
ust as there have been thousands of widows before me, there has been the spiral, inspiring, guiding and holding us. I draw spirals in times of sorrow, because it calms me down and focuses me. Try it the next time you are feeling anxious. It might help.
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Photographer [Sarah Treanor] Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death by Jillian Wong
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
Living with Grief Resources:
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Loses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.