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8.31.2011

GRIEF CAPTURED

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about showing publicly through pictures the monumental grief of others.  I feel a bit bothered by it.  Having experienced some grief in my life, it is very personal, very private and not something that I would want to have captured by the media in a picture.  This morning's paper showed a mother and her grief, the result of a recent tragedy in our community.  Last week, in an arson fire, she lost 2 of her sons and her husband.  The picture of her head in hands, overwhelmed with emotion at the funeral, literally brought tears to my eyes and sorrow welled up in me.  It was good in the sense that I felt sympathy, empathy and even prayed for her at that moment.  It was though uncomfortable, as I felt like I was invading her private thoughts, emotions and world.  I didn't like that.  That reminded me of 9/11 and all the photos that captured grief, sorrow, despair, horror and bewilderment.  I felt those same emotions then as I did this morning looking at this woman's grief.  I wrote a post about grief back in December 2010 called, "She Weeps".  It was my take on grief and its power, its relentlessness, its rawness.  I think loss is so very hard for so many reasons.  One of which is that we are living, loving, experiencing life right up until the moment of loss - right until our loved one is absent from our life.  Losing access, presence in our world to them is uncharted territory.  I don't want a funeral with a casket and a big to do.  Nor, would I want my grief or loss exposed for others to view in such a public way.  I think about how grief was handled in Bible days.  Mourners were hired to follow those who had a loss - to wail, to mourn, to weep.  There was an allotted time period for extreme, overwhelming grief.  When that time was up, they returned to their lives as best they could.  Crazy in my view and yet I suppose at some point we have a choice in grief don't we.  The thing is I am not sure that point can be zoned in on, drawn on the calendar and then grief orderly swept up and cataloged back in our hearts and minds.  I like the story of Job in the Bible too.  When his grief was massive - loss of all his children, wealth, etc.... he sat unmoving, paralyzed with it.  His friends came and it says they literally "sat on the ash heap with him".  Ashes were used to signify sorrow and grief.  To this woman in the paper today, my heart broke for her pain and what lies ahead of her.  Someday may her grief actually be captured - not in a photo - but that it can be a piece of her life, not the whole of her life like it is right now.

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