Friday, January 10, 2014

Are You Making Grief Your Vocation?

Last night I was reading an article written by a widow less than one year out.  The comment section afterward held this question "Are you making grief your vocation?".

The person who asked this question was anonymous, and I will paraphrase her comment.  She'd too had extreme heartbreak.  Divorced, with a child to raise all by herself.   Plunging into work had taken her mind off her loss, and eventually she got better.  She suggested to the author of the article that if she doesn't have a job, to get one.  She wrote that author of this article about widowhood appears to be making her grief her vocation, and it doesn't seem to be doing her much good.  The inference is that this widow has no talent for helping herself, let alone others.

I rolled my eyes.  Granted, wailing in public can make people mighty uncomfortable, but... 

There's no 'one size fits all' way to grieve, and yes, some people have made it a vocation.  And helped a lot of us.  We already know the idea of healing is to get through grief.  To get some perspective.  So whatever method floats your boat through grief is the right way to do it.  For me it was writing publicly, plus taking up bicycling and swimming.  And dating, and traveling, and designing and sculpting, and and and.  Perhaps the writer of this article writes precisely so she CAN get grief off her chest.  Release it to an editor.  See it in black and white.

That's when it hit me.  I've been wondering for a few months what the point is for writing posts here. IT - THE GRIEF - REALLY IS OVER FOR ME.  There is nothing left of the life I once knew.  I'm totally O.K. with this.  I don't need its foundation.  The resistance I once felt about living an entirely different life than the one I'd loved has vanished.   As my readers know, I had my remedies to heal and some of them flopped.  Big deal.  Where there was once was pain and concern there is now peace and permission to glow.  Grief has quietly concluded its usefulness in my life.  So, why read these articles, and why beat a dead horse here?

Yes, I did need to write about my process, like the author of the article I read last night.  I set out to heal without paying a counselor, to heal without wearing out people too kind to tell me to shut up, to know joy without taking an antidepressant, to learn without taking courses, to reshape my life in the house he and I occupied.  I did it by writing reams of material and ruthlessly editing it, shaping each post into beginning, middle and end.  And as the many beginning, middle and ends of posts found their way into print, my psyche was unperceptively entertaining the idea that beginnings, middles and ends are not an enemy at all, but an invitation for another cycle.

I have received a gift with widowhood and retirement - permission to live life on my own terms.  I received the gift of marriage and career - realizing I'm not the only one to consider when I live this life.  I truly hope I am putting these two gifts together. 

If you need to write publicly, please do.  You're not taking anyone hostage with your woes. We readers are free to read or click next!  You're free to delete a comment you don't like.  At some point, someone will read what's going on in your heart and identify with you. You are not alone.

All I can do is hold my hand out from the POST GRIEF shore and encourage you.


  1. Free to read or click next! I think that is exactly why I enjoy blogging. I'm NOT wearing out my friends and family. Or my widow friends who share their path with me.

    Sometimes just one little comment at the bottom of a blog is the icing on the cake! LOVE your blog! THANK YOU!

  2. Thank you for the compliment and for visitng! I enjoy following yours as well, all by free will :-)

    1. I just today (12//20/2015) rediscovered your blog!

  3. Thank you for writing. I've never been divorced, but I have to believe it's a different kind of pain.

  4. I have tried to comment on this three times yesterday and it wouldn't go through. Let's hope I have better luck today.

    I'm still shocked that someone could say that to a widow less than a year out! Even at three years out it would be inappropriate. And I agree with Anonymous that while there are similar things you grief with a divorce, I can't believe going through a divorce gives a person a clear picture of what it's like to loss a spouse through death.

  5. Blogspot acting up again?!? I'm glad you persisted!

    I hope the woman who wrote the article refuses to be pushed to the margins by the responses to her article. We all have stories of being targeted by people who believe they can fix us, don't we?

  6. Would you be willing to share a link to that article? I'd love to read it. You could leave the link in my comment box and I promise not to publish the comment through to the pubic. I can't get that statement out of my head.

  7. It did and thank you! I just spent an hour and a half reading comments---interesting cross-section of opinions. I was encouraged that about 75% of them were supportive, understanding and/or compassionate vs the 25% that were callous, clueless or cruel. I was itching to respond to a few of them, like you did here with your blog.

  8. Ah...sparked something in you! I see a glint in your eye...LOL

  9. My name is Daniel Shelton; I am a social worker and grief counselor for a hospice in Las Vegas, NV. I have a Google Alert set on my computer for grief and grieving and recently your thoughts popped up. I am always looking for personal thoughts and experiences that might prove useful to those I serve and wanted to thank you for having the courage to share your difficult experiences. I wish you the best of luck in your personal healing and if there is anything I might be able to do to assist please don’t hesitate to ask.


    Daniel Shelton, LSW, MSW
    Family Home Hospice
    Bereavement Counselor/Coordinator
    8655 S Eastern
    Las Vegas, NV 89123

  10. So nice to hear from you I'm always in awe of you who make hospice and bereavement care your profession.

    I've been humbled to meet amazing widows, young and old, sharing pain and hope, online and in real time. Somehow walls come down that we may otherwise put up in with people we know. Goodness knows we desperately need love at this time in our lives. It comes through people like you, and also through the screens on our computers. I love it!