It seems to me that blogs evolve through developmental phases toward maturity and I invite you to participate with me in guiding the growth of this one. While this blog is in the beginning phase, the idea of a different way to think about and get through grief has been in development for a long time. The essential purpose has remained constant: to once again locate grief within the historical record of humankind, i.e. grief as a profound human experience to be lived.
My Evolution: From my early beginnings as a nurse, although schooled and working in medical model institutions, I was drawn to how persons lived the many painful situations unfolding in the process of living. My initial choice for practice was neuropsychiatric nursing but I gravitated toward the “new idea” which became the critical care units that we know today. In both these areas, I was deeply touched by the often devastating, raw pain of loss that showed itself in myriad ways. But beyond the devastation and the pain, I also saw the power of relationship and the solidarity of connection that fueled the person’s inherent inner capacity to heal. I often reflected on the wonder and mystery of being-human and about the meaning and significance of living–a process that inevitably includes the pain of loss, the suffering of grief and always ends in death. It became increasingly clear that the centrality of loss and grief seemed to be major organizing themes powering individual health and growth throughout the process of living. I knew that deeper insights could be gained only through on-going study and experience.
Study and Experience: I earned four academic degrees, taught students of Nursing in five colleges/universities in three states and engaged in professional writing and speaking. And for some twenty years now, I have worked with several funeral directors to provide support groups for those in grief. Simultaneous with my teaching, I began a small private practice, dedicated to guiding families in making decisions at the many crossroads of health and life choices, one of which was at the crossroads of dying and post-death grief. Eventually, I shifted my focus specifically toward persons experiencing loss and grief…and came to a different way of thinking about and getting through grief. While I no longer teach in a formal setting, I am first and foremost, an educator…seeking now through this different medium to continue the exploration and dissemination of griefadifferentway.