The Demands of Loss

When I was on sabbatical, my spiritual director was processing an injury with me. In that session, she suggested a story by Rachel Naomi Remen. I found a lot of help in the story, and it led me to Dr. Remen’s work. It seems that there are always more injuries to consider.

I’ve been slowly reading her book, My Grandfather’s Blessings. Here is a quote from one of the beautiful, brief reflections:

Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life. When we don’t grieve, a part of us becomes caught in the past like Lot’s wife who, because she looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt.

Grieving is not about forgetting. Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of the things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again.


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