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Twenty Kids And Grief Absorption

December 15th, 2012 by Alison · 2 Comments · relationships, spirituality & religion

“Can you imagine Alayna and Jeremiah being gunned down at school?” Thor said last night. We were sitting pressed together on the couch. He was referring to our friends next door, 8 and 10. We had just watched the tape of President Obama’s speech on the Newtown shootings. I shuddered.

“There’s got to be . . . grief absorption. I mean, where we can help carry some of the parents’ grief, ” Thor said. I felt that ping in my chest that means: yes. So, we sat in silent prayer, tears streaming from our eyes, feeling the pain and grief of the massacre, and especially the parents.

I’m a doer by nature. Passivity irritates me, in both myself and others. If there is a problem I want to do something about it. Twenty eight people gunned down in Connecticut (or anywhere) is a problem that I itch to see fixed and prevented (punished isn’t possible in this trend where gunmen shoot themselves at the end). Lots is being hotly written and debated right now about gun control, and rightly so. But this piece is not part of that debate. This post is about grief, and helping each other absorb it.

When I was swamped with grief after my mother’s death last year, I didn’t need fix-it folks. For example, I didn’t need to hear anything about possible cures for Parkinsons disease, which had paralyzed my mother’s body for years prior to her death. That wouldn’t have helped at all. I needed people to be present to my grief. People’s being present to my grief actually helped to absorb it. Every condolence card I received meant the world to me. In the card my coworkers gave me, the note that helped me the most was Maile telling me she was praying for me. I walked around knowing that she, and God, were helping to carry my grief. In that same time-frame my friend Colleen helped me create a Sacred cornercolorful collage of sympathy cards in my bedroom out of a folding brass screen draped with colorful cloths. It took less than an hour. I pinned all the condolence cards up, and they supported me as I prayed inside of my sacred space for comfort and healing. And those came to me, over the weeks and months. 

The families of the murdered children and adults in Newtown are suffering horribly. I’m praying for them, teaming with God, working to help absorb their grief inside my Sacred Corner where I am writing right now. There is an unseen world, parallel to the world we see. In this world geography is irrelevant, and we help absorb each others’ grief.

This Saturday post is replacing my usual Sunday post.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Mick Wiley

    Al, Thanks for sharing this post. Anyone who has kids, knows children, or works with them, is deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy. The truth is- no school or work place is really safe. I just pray that more people reach out and ask for help …rather than taking innocent lives down with them.

    • Alison

      Mick, teaching in a school as you do, I take your viewpoint all the more seriously. Good point about angry people needing to reach out for help. While none of us are ever technically, literally safe from danger, it’s amazing how often all of us remain safe. Believers often call that grace.

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