Letter from the Director – July 2022

Writing Through Grief

In the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve lost two of the most important people in my life: my mother (January 2020) and my husband (May 2022). To say it’s been a difficult 2 1/2 years is a huge understatement. Navigating the emotional swells, not to mention the full-blown tidal waves, has been a lesson in perseverance – sometimes day by day, sometimes hour by hour. What sustains me in the lowest hollows and deepest aches is language. Words. Writing. When it feels impossible to speak what I feel, I can write it.

I journal every day in a notebook that has this quote on the front: “You are here. Now, anything is possible.” It gives me the courage I need to sit in the hard places of grief. One thing I realized as I spilled words (and sometimes tears) on the page is that I wouldn’t feel this grief if it weren’t for love. Love and grief walk hand in hand on a parallel path. At some point in every life, the path will intersect and the two will merge. What we do with the merging changes our life. It changes the person we are. We become a new being, rebuilt from the ashes of what and who we thought we were. 

If that feels scary, it’s because it is. Change is always a bit scary, especially when it’s forced upon us. I contend that our humanity is strong enough to face it, strong enough to stand inside it. Even in a grief-phobic world, where more importance is placed on being happy than being real, we can find ways to step into the sorrow and reclaim our hearts. Changed hearts, yes, but ours nonetheless. One way to do this is through writing. 

During the first weekend in November (Nov 4-6), we’re offering a retreat titled “Writing Through Grief, Finding the Words that Live in Loss.” I’m working with brilliant lawyer, writer, mindfulness coach, and co-founder of Thought Kitchen, Jill Carnell. Jill and I will lead 4 workshops that explore ways to express and acknowledge (To yourself! Sharing is optional!) feelings of grief. Through prompts, writing exercises, mindful meditation, exploration in nature, and moments of introspection, we’ll practice what it means to share space with sorrow and leave room for healing and even joy. 

I invite you to read more about the retreat at this link: Writing Through Grief. We’d be honored to have you join us. No writing experience is necessary. 

It’s very difficult to show up for our emotions. Avoidance seems the easier path. (I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work very well for long!) Now, I’m committed to the quote on the front of my journal. “You are here. Now, anything is possible.” We’ll stand in the “here” with you. We’ll stand together.