Adages for the Grieving
A Different Kind of Support
Dancing In The Sky, From An Angel's Perspective
'We live in this world. Our special people who have died live in that other world. We are separated from them, and the separation is painful beyond measure. But there's a bridge from our world to theirs. It's called love. We still love them, and our underlying love connects us to them. And their love for us? It is also everlasting, and if we work to tune into it, we can still feel it flowing from that world back to us.' Author Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
'People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. Mourning can go on for years and years. It doesn't end after a year; that's a false fantasy. It usually ends when people realize that they can live again, and they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole, and not on their hurt, and guilt, and pain.'
Author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
'Our culture tends to think of grief as the enemy. It's bad. We want to ignore it or at least get rid of it as soon as we can. But as we're learning, this is a misconception. What we really need to do is befriend our grief. We need to hold it close, empathize with it, and try to understand it. We need to regard it with, well, love. We don't really destroy our grief by making it our friend, though. Instead we come to accept it as part of us. If love is the yang of our lives, grief is the yin. They are not opposing forces; they are complementary. In befriending our grief, the only thing we destroy is the misconception that it is our enemy.'
Author Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
'My grief, I find, is not desolation or rebellion at universal law or deity. I find grief to be much simpler and sadder. All the things he loved tear at my heart because he is no longer here on earth to enjoy them. All the things he loved!'
Author John Gunther
'Not all those who wander are lost' ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
We are wandering in our grief. We are going this way and that, sometimes forward, sometimes backward, sometimes in circles or zigzags. In our wandering, we can feel aimless, even hopeless. We can feel disorganized and disoriented. We can feel lost. Grief is indeed a meandering journey - one with no road map. When we are feeling lost, we can remember. We may be meandering, but we are not lost. We are doing what we need to do. When we learn to trust that the wandering will eventually get us where we need to go, it gets easier .. and hope reignites.'
'Our grief can feel so chaotic. It's like being in the middle of a wild, rushing river with nothing to hold onto. We're confused, befuddled and disorganized. It's dizzying and miserable. But our chaos is rearranging us. We must trust that it is making new patterns and connections. Over time, as we do our grief work, we will eventually begin to see the changed yet beautiful new us we are becoming.'
'I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.'
Author Jack London
'You don't heal from the loss of a loved one because time passes; you heal because of what you do with the time'.
Author Carol Crandall
'You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...
In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night ...
You - only you - will have stars that can laugh'.
Author Antoine de Saint Exupery
'Grief lasts longer than sympathy, which is one of the tragedies of the grieving'.
Author Elizabeth McCracken
'Most of us grievers get good at wearing masks. Our culture tells us we need to 'buck up,' 'keep it together,' and 'move forward,' and so we go about our day-to-day lives doing what needs to be done, all the while wearing a mask that belies our true thoughts and feelings. But here's the thing: We don't have to be different people on the outside than we are on the inside. We can be honest about our true thoughts and feelings. Healing our grief requires expressing it openly and honestly.'
'Do you know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?'
Author Terry Pratchett
'We're here, and we know that feeling better is way over there, on the other side of the grand canyon of our grief. The journey's gonna be rough, but it's also gonna change us. Maybe we can look forward to meeting the us that we will have become on the other side of that canyon'.
'Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.'
'The French don't say, 'I miss you'. They say, 'Tu me manques', which means, 'You are missing from me.' The people we love are a part of us, and when they die, they go missing from us. That's why we often say that whenever someone special dies, a part of us dies, too. This sensation of something essential now being missing in our lives is the hardest part of our grief to learn to bear. It will never go away. We cannot fill the hole with other people, activities, or belongings. It's unfillable. Yet maybe we can come to an understanding about the hole: It is now a container for our memories and love for the person who died. And while the memories and the love are not a substitute for the person's presence, they, too, are priceless beyond measure.'
'It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.'
Author Joseph Campbell
'Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.'
These are not my words but this is me .. although I have not yet learned to laugh again ~ Jea
There she is.
Do you see her?
She seems familiar yet you struggle to recognize her. Her cheeks are red and stained from tears, her body worn and scarred.
She stares back at you, the sparkle drains from her eyes as she silently pleads for you to acknowledge her motherhood.
She is jaded. She has seen the world as it truly is- unfair and callous. Her protective veil of innocence torn away only to be replaced by grief’s shroud of guilt and jealousy. She has fallen into a life filled with monsters and nightmares; a place where families lose their children, a Hell that feeds off the blissful dreams of parenthood.
She has unwillingly befriended grief, often collapsing under its weight. She has come to resent the games it plays, the way it holds her mind hostage and twists her brain with lies.
Her dreams have been sacrificed, unwillingly ripped from her grasp. Instead, she holds the pieces of her past and future, scrambled and broken, unable to ever be truly put together the way they originally existed.
She no longer measures time in hours or minutes but in the breaths she has until she meets her sweet child again.
She has lost track of all the tears that have been shed. Each cascading tear a tribute to her baby, a lullaby that only a grieving mother can sing. Each a reminder of the sorrow, love and pride that has been left behind.
She no longer worries about the little things, realizing now what’s important. Friends and family have been pushed away while others pulled closer. She has had to try and find protection in a society that pushes her to quickly move beyond her pain, deny her grief and strive for acceptance. They don’t understand there is no acceptance with child loss- solace, perhaps, but not true acceptance.
She has allowed herself to dance with darkness before surrendering to the shadows, exposed and raw. She has stared death in the face and asked to have her child back, only to time and time again hear the same response….”no.”
She’s gone deaf from the sound of shock- the deafening sound of a child’s heartbeat silenced. She’s been muted from stifling her screams and anger and bitterness towards those that experience the joy and happiness she so desperately craves.
She has laid in bed and watched the chaos sway in the moonlight, struggling to breath as anxiety pounds through her veins. She is tired. Exhausted. The kind of tired that cannot be remedied by any amount of sleep.
Can you see her now?
Yes. You see how she has been broken and rebuilt. Shattered. Dragged to the brink of death, her heart ripped out and yet she continues to breath. This is a woman reshaped by an impossible pain, longing to be normal though aware she will always remain a shadow of her former self.
With time, she has relearned to laugh and trust in love again- but when you look closely you will still see the ache that lingers in her eyes, an ache that yearns for that irreplaceable missing piece.
She’s risen from the ashes clinging to shards of hope. There is a beauty and grace in her strength yet she doesn’t know where it comes from. She will humbly tell you she prefers to not be called brave or strong or an inspiration. She never asked to be these things. She is merely just trying to live. There is no other choice, this is what her survival looks like.
She gazes eagerly at the sky scanning the clouds, the sunsets, and the stars for a glimpse of her heart. She listens to the wind and hopes to hear her child’s name whispered in her ear. And in those gentle moments she wonders if her baby is somewhere searching for her too.
She can see her story is not over and new dreams cautiously emerge. She finds the courage to follow her heart and live for her child no matter how far apart they are. She has been transformed by love. Theirs is a love that cannot be stolen by death. It is infinite as it is powerful, it stretches past forever and leaves her breathless.
Yes, you see her now. The woman who walks with an angel by her side, a twisted beauty of grief and love.
You recognize her now – the woman staring back at you in the mirror. She is different from who she was before. Yes, some days it’s hard to accept she’s irrevocably changed, but you love her nonetheless for all that she is…and all she has become.
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Mention and/or photos of Lauren, the love of Jay's life, are intentionally excluded from this site, when possible, at the request of and out of respect for the privacy of her family. To learn about Jay and Lauren's amazing journey together, visit Jay's blog, 'Simply Cycling, Traveling The World By Bicycle' @ simplycycling.org.
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Created by Jay's Mom, Jea Santovasco
'I could die doing what I love, but I could also die never having really lived. To me, that would have been a far greater tragedy.' - Jay Austin
Jay really lived .. up until the very moment he was intentionally brutally murdered in a terrorist attack while cycling the world.
Jay lost his life simply because he was an American.
May 1st, 1989 - July 29th, 2018