Now We Weep. But Just For Now.
By Elaine K. Olson, LPC and Spiritual Director
My Experience of Grief
“We need never be ashamed of
our tears.” - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
I sat, weeping. Tears streamed down my face with tissue after tissue wiping an endless well of sadness.
In the intimacy of a private room, I sat with my spiritual director. At times, my tears were silent. Other times, the tears were accompanied by short disjointed phrases of disconnected memories.
I had lost so much after my husband’s death. We had built a life together over thirty years of marriage; raising children, sharing leadership within the church, reading many of the same books, teaching and challenging each other into wholeness. Together, we had discovered the ease of living side-by-side with mutual understanding and caring. Now, I was alone in the melancholy of a grieving heart.
Other endings followed. Selling the home we loved; giving away treasures to simplify my life; moving to a new town, and finding new friends. Changing my life once defined as “us” to one of “me.”
The Company of a Spiritual Director
“You usually can’t recall all the people you’ve shared
laughs with. But you rarely forget the people you’ve
shared your tears with.” - Mya Robarts, The V Girl
Walled within this grief, I discovered one gift – the presence of Sister Michaela. I had grown to trust her listening heart. Though she seldom spoke, she sat alongside me, listening from her very being, fully present.
Sister Michaela made numerous cups of tea and drank its soothing warmth beside me, reaffirming my resilience. Within this place of trusted comfort, the grief lifted to the heavens like the steam from the hot tea we held in our hands. This cup and her presence became a solid grip on reality.
Weary Tears Water the Seeds of Hope
“Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears
are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot
grow without water. But there must be sunlight also.
A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does,
the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed
inside to comfort us.” – Brian Jacques, Taggerung
In time hope began to accompany the vapor upward. The tears released the toxins of mourning to create a renewed space for a new boldness; to what I did not know. Yet I began to trust the new which lie ahead as my tears cleansed my soul.
Talking with my own spiritual director taught me that grief’s tears require safe places and safe ears. When sorrow is shared with another, it can be transformed. The compassion of a non-judgmental presence becomes the womb of hope.
“If you want to change things,” Sister Michaela reminded me later, when I had a more clear-eyed understanding, “You have to begin with sadness. These weary tears water the seeds of hope.”
Help Is Here
Genesis Grief Support envisions a community where everyone going through the significant loss finds support in their journey with grief.
Click here for more information. You may also contact a Genesis Grief Support staff member at 563-421-5000.