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  • Writer's pictureDean Saner

What is grief...

What is grief... but love persevering.

Okay, bringing in Wanda and Vision to help me with this blog may be self-serving, but that line is so painfully beautiful. Without any type of spoilers, WandaVision (on Disney+) explores the process of grief through all kinds of lenses, and love does, indeed, persevere.

Most of us have experienced deep and profound grief over the loss of a loved one, and those that haven't are destined to. We humans (and perhaps all living things) are faced with death and how to cope with that loss, it shapes who we are. Linked to its soulmate, resilience, grief is the key instrument of "growing down," cultivating meaning in our lives and allowing us to come to terms with our own mortality, our tears washing the wound of our soul.

As a therapist, I have been able to be a part of the grieving process for many clients. I have always considered it a privilege to hear the stories of the death of loved ones, each story having such a depth and poignancy. My job is never to push them through the grief, but rather to allow the words and feelings a safe place to collect, helping my client create a painting, or better yet, a collage of the many sides of relationship, all the feelings having their say.

Although we tend to view grief through the very literal sense of missing someone that has died, we could view life itself as a sacred practice of grief. We are continually letting go of what we though life was supposed to be like, every day presenting new challenges. Wisdom gets to join grief and resilience at that point. Of course, our societal realities in the pandemic environment have made this all too real.

Kubler-Ross's famous stages of grief, which may be better described as points on a spectrum versus a progression model, at least give us containers for the feelings that have risen in these times. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance have been in the flow from the beginning. Denial and anger, through the lens of individual freedom, show themselves in social resistance towards interventions. With bargaining seen as a fulcrum of sorts, the depression and eventual acceptance help us see through the lens of social responsibility.

That life will be different “on the other side” of the pandemic is a given, and we may grieve these changes for years to come. In the hope that science may give us the keys to avoid such disruption in the future, it is up to all of us to no longer take for granted our need to honor our connection and interdependence.

Love is persevering. It is up to us to continue showing love to one another, regardless of where we are in our grieving.

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