Trudy James is a chaplain and experienced grief counelor. She shared the podium April 13 in a recorded public conversation with Robin Shapiro, board chair for the Washington State Health Advocacy Association.
Grief, especially of the aging, was their topic. "Our culture hates sadness. Our tendency is to focus on how we move forward, rather than the sadness we feel," said James.
But grief is a reality. And it's about loss. "We are losing our normal way of life. We are losing our connections to other people." The symptoms are many: fatigue, tiredness, and pains, and numbness. Or we can become angry or ill. And even after we return to our normal life, we still can experience grief.
So what do we do with the sadness we feel? Here are some ideas to use with yourself, with seniors in your life, or with others who are experiencing loss on a global scale.
- Talking about the situation and your feelings is good.
- Allow yourself to cry.
- Listen to others without fixing. Not everyone knows how to listen to loss.
- Ask questions of people such as "What is the hardest thing about this time for you?" "What do you miss the most about "regular" life?
- Spend time in nature, or at least look out the window.
- Do simple acts of kindness for others.
- Perform a ritual such as sitting in silence. A ritual is an action that carries meaning and insight.
Grief on a global scale. It's true. How true. My ritual is sitting in silence and gaining strength for today and tomorrow.