Welcome to grief in a very different way. My name is A. Barbara Coyne..I am a nurse, an educator and a bereavement counselor. I talk about grief in a very different way and dedicate this weblog to conversations about that difference. The first three pages of this blog serve as the background to establish “the difference” and how I came to it. Sarah’s Corner is where you may actively participate in this weblog.
This blog is both about and for you. It is about you because you, like all of us, will experience loss and its’ natural companion, grief , throughout life. And it is for you as a place where you may share your experience, ask questions or make comments…in short, a place to engage a growing community of life travelers interested in a different way to think about and get through grief. Let me pause here to emphasize that what we think about anything deeply influences how we approach it. And may I offer Shakespeare’s testament to this as Hamlet, in conversation with two friends, addresses differing points of view: “…why then, ’tis none to you; for there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so…” (Hamlet: Act II, Scene II). So, what, then, do we think about grief, what “makes it so” and what will be different in our conversations?
What We Think About Grief Now: For decades now, we have thought about and described grief in the system and language of sickness. This way of thinking points us toward the unfortunate conclusion, that grief–like sickness–unfolds along the medical path from diagnosis to “recovery” through those well-known “stages” where we then must relegate our grief to some indeterminate “past”…our “thinking has made it so”. But it has not always been that way: the long history of our experience of grief has always told a very different story.
A Different Story: We have known grief since the beginning of recorded human history as our ancestors sat by the fires telling and re-telling their stories of loss, finding solace and surcease from their pain in the solidarity of connection. It is the accumulated wisdom of this ancient story that resonates across the timeless eons of our human history to touch the pain of our loss–today–not clichés, not platitudes and certainly not the curative approach of the medical model. The wisdom of our shared human history–a history replete with the suffering inherent in living–invites us to embrace opportunities to grow in the midst of that suffering: our shared human history has taught us that we get to the joy through the suffering.
Please join me as we initiate conversations about a very different way of thinking about loss, grief and the work-of-grief. I invite you to join our fledgling “community of travelers” along this path of griefadifferentway….you may offer a comment, question, anecdote or share an experience at Sarah’s Corner. The name Sarah has always held a very special place in my corner of the world….so I offer this special corner as a quiet place for you to reflect on the changing pattern of your life in the shadow of the shifting ebb and flow of your grief. It is a place to share your unique memory, anecdote, question, comment or other experience in your unfolding grief story. The remembering might be joyful, sad, profound, simple, funny and more likely, a little of all of these….all at once: in the remembering and sharing comes the learning and growing….together.