Cry into the darkness.
Feel your pain as you gaze into the night sky.
Beg the moon and the stars for mercy.
Feel small and inconsequential.
Face your dark night, recognizing that this is where you are to be right now.
Feel the full impact of hope and disappointment.
And wonder if they are mutually exclusive.
Remember the stages of loss.
Remember the stages of life.
Excerpt from They Live On: Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad © 2010
Many people have told me that they’re trying not to grieve the loss of our friend and yogi, but instead celebrate her life. That’s a noble and admirable goal, yet it’s also important to allow ourselves to grieve.
Our society doesn’t fully honor the death of an elderly person, labeling it as “the natural order of things.” Did you think they would last forever? is the unspoken question. In truth, we did. And that can leave us feeling disenfranchised and alone in our grief.
Unresolved residual grief must be expressed or it comes out sideways in our health, relationships, and/or work. We’re sometimes reluctant to allow ourselves a good cry because once the flood gates open, we fear we may never get them closed again. But we do, and feel so much better for it.
The therapeutic benefits of cleansing ourselves of bottled-up grief – simply by crying and talking about it – are immeasurable and essential to a healthy mind and body. Isak Dinesen wrote in Seven Gothic Tales, “The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” Mana seemed to know that; she would tell us to “release the toxins.”
She not only honored the light in us – she honored the darkness in each of us as well, helping so many find their way through life’s challenges.
So, go ahead and cry. It’s good for all of us.